Madison Metropolitan School District
Madison, Wisconsin

Art Rainwater, Superintendent
Minutes for Long Range Planning
February 21, 2005
Doyle Administration Building
545 West Dayton Street, McDaniels Auditorium
Madison, Wisconsin

Long Range Planning Committee meeting was called to order by Chair Ruth Robarts at 6:07 p.m.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Carol Carstensen, Ruth Robarts, Johnny Winston, Jr.


OTHER BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: Bill Clingan, Bill Keys (arrived 6:52 p.m.), Shwaw Vang


PRESENT: Joan Eggert, Jill Jokela, Lucy Mathiak, Pat Mooney, Jan Sternbach, and Student Representative Oliver Kiefer

STAFF PRESENT: Sue Abplanalp, Jennie Allen, Jane Belmore, Valencia Douglas, Mary Gulbrandsen, Kurt Kiefer, Roger Price, Art Rainwater, Attorney Clarence Sherrod, Ken Syke, Barbara Lehman-Recording Secretary

1. Approval of Minutes

It was moved by Carol Carstensen and seconded by Johnny Winston, Jr. to approve the minutes from the Long Range Planning Committee dated February 14, 2005. Motion unanimously carried.

2. Announcements

a. Projected gap between revenue and expenditures relative to MMSD Budgets for Fiscal Years 2005 06, 2006-07, 2007-08, and 2008-09

Ms. Carstensen wanted to follow up with the citizen advisory members who wanted to give some input on the referendum issues. A copy of the budget forecast for 2005-09 was distributed (attached to the original of these minutes) and explained the status of the operating budget. She referenced page four detailing the forecast, cost of same service budget, and how much it would be over the revenue limits in each of the four years assuming no change in state law. The final line gave the cumulative gap across the years. A chart of property values in each of the MMSD communities was part of the packet (attached to the original of these minutes). She also noted the graph indicating the larger increase in the CPI vs. the increase in the tax levy.

b. Ground rules for participation in the Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC) meeting for the LRPC and school board members who are not on the LRPC

Ms. Robarts indicated that she would ask those who are not members of the committee to hold their questions until the committee had finished. She stated that her colleagues did not want to do that and she was, therefore, withdrawing the ground rules and she would call on people whenever they wish to speak.

c. Proposed plans to address the overcrowded problem at Leopold Elementary School for the 2005-06 school year

The proposed plans would be available for the entire committee next week.

d. Research on maximum size of elementary schools

The research will part of next week's packet.

3. It is recommended that special education students remain in schools where boundary changes occur.

Ms. Robarts asked to put this on the agenda. Staff has some issues about the proposed motion. It would be taken up at the next meeting for discussion.

4. Boundary Change Options to address Overcrowding at Leopold Elementary School

Mary Gulbrandsen reviewed the same slides from her original presentation and noted that the committee would only be dealing with Module 3 for this meeting. Highlights: if the referendum passes the new school would open in two years; the plan moves the least number of students and leaves the West and Memorial attendance areas relatively unchanged. The administration would put forth Option 3D1 if the referendum does not pass but they also asked several other options continue to be considered. There are no budget or bussing impacts, tried to keep neighborhoods together, tried to keep areas as contiguous as possible. Option 3D2 is not much different, moves a few less students and creates a couple islands; makes new developments more stable.

5. Public Appearances

Sandy Meuer, Crestwood parent, was very concerned that there is such a concentration in the Leopold area and wondered if the real growth was in the Memorial area. She did not see consistency in the new developments. Crestwood would change 81 percent and would be ripped apart. Many of the other schools will be turned upside down. Some schools would have 70 percent concentrations of low income students and she indicated that the funds do not follow the kids like they should. The quality of education will not stay the same in those schools if that happens. She wanted to see these really debated because so many neighborhoods will be ripped apart.

Marisue Horton, Crestwood parent, gave some reasons for why moving 400 to 500 students around would not be accepted children will not have consistency; bonds among parents, teachers, children, and neighborhood friends would be broken; and current school support through fund raising, etc. would be lost.

Dave Eckerle, Crestwood parent spoke to reducing the islands around Muir, Stephens, and Crestwood. Did not understand how all the changes came from a school so far away. He felt the changes were arbitrary and reshuffling of those islands would not benefit the students and will disrupt their education and families and neighborhoods. He did not see how reducing attendance islands would alleviate anything.

There was some discussion about new developments to be platted in the near future on the far southwest side and how important building at Leopold will be. The timing will be drastically accelerated to build a new school on the far southwest side if the referendum fails (five years anyway; probably two years if the referendum to build at Leopold fails).

Pam Delfosse, teacher and parent, resides in the attendance area island in Walnut Grove and wanted all the options kept on the table. She wanted to learn more about the scenarios. She was concerned with the decision making process and wanted to disseminate as much information as openly and consistently as possible and get feedback from all the constituents, particularly from Allied Drive residents. She was also concerned about competitive dynamics emerging from this and wanted people to be sensitive to that in the process. She did not see just cause for moving kids away from their school.

Ms. Robarts noted that people could go to the web site to see the schedule for public hearings which will include one at Allied Drive.

Bill Keys arrived at 6:52 p.m.

Janet Morrow stated that prioritization of needs are not always the same. Grandfathering in special education students is a wise choice. Parents will advocate for their regular education children. Disruptions in the education of special needs children is far more detrimental.

Lucy Mathiak left at this time.

Mary Kay Battaglia did not see the benefit of putting Leopold and another school on the same site that in 10-15 years may not be needed. She felt manipulated by having to pass the referendum in order to avoid changing all the islands. Noted the poverty rates at Van Hise (18 percent) and Midvale (65 percent) and asked if something could be done to alleviate that situation since the schools are right next to each other. She wanted the cost of moving MSCR to the east side where the occupancy is so much lower. She also wanted the lines changed so the high schools would not be so different. She would not mind moving her child but did not like the choices she said were being forced on them. She concluded that Leopold is not the highest need.

There was some discussion about the geographic realities in Madison and having schools where the kids are located. The speaker wanted more information and previous guidelines. The addition was put onto Leopold so a whole new building would not have to be built right away knowing it would be needed with the growth on the far south side and the west districts. It was also a site that is already owned by the district.

Mary O'Connell, Leopold PFO, favored building on the Leopold site. She sent out a ballot resulting in 90 percent of those returned in favor of building a second school. She commented that $20 per year would be worth it, she wanted to become involved in the process; they would leave if the boundaries would change, and wanted more information about what the money covers. If the school is not built, there was much concern about the percentage of low-income students at the school. There is much divisiveness among the families.

Kevin Borgmeyer, 20 year resident, chose Crestwood and understood that it was an island. The islands have been in existence for many years and families are used to those conditions. He was concerned about having to move. They support their school. He wanted the committee to consider not doing the changes.

Sue Eckerle, Crestwood parent, stated that the islands do not have bussing issues, kids can still walk, and the islands do not matter. The negative impact would be huge.

Lawrence Winkler was concerned about the massive moves and how the continuity of education will be affected. He wanted the issues raised to be addressed. He did not have a sense about whether the changes would be done at once or gradually or the exact timing and how it fits into changes if the referendum goes through.

Kristen Barge, Crestwood parent, has not ever experienced something this drastic. She was still in shock with the amount of proposed changes if the referendum does not go through. She has a child with special needs and a regular education student and wants to keep them at the same school but transportation would not be provided. It would be difficult to have them going to different schools, different bus situations, and different starting times. This would also affect after school programs. She wanted the information sent home with the students, especially for those who do not have computer access.

Allied Drive students go to three elementary schools now and some have chosen transfers in very small numbers. Madison's segregated housing patterns would make it impossible to balance out without massive busing. In many cases, low-income housing is right around the school. A door-to-door survey was taken the last time and families wanted to stay with the schools they have now. A Long Range Planning public hearing will be scheduled on Allied Drive.

Frank Fennessy stated that he saw neighborhoods where the board sees islands. He is a Stephens parent and thought it would be very painful for children to have to change their schools. He hoped there would be more dialogue on the issue of disseminating documents.

Deborah Speckmann did not think people needed to continue calling things islands. Crestwood did not realize they had endowments and trust funds. She asked what would happen to those things as schools are torn apart. She asked about what kinds of students would be moved with Plan 3D1; plan moves students into schools that right now have low percentages of low-income students and would increase it so much more. She added that bussing 1,163 students cannot be any worse than having equality in the elementary schools. She had written registrations in opposition but they were not distributed. She was concerned about the decision made regarding Emerson last week; those that can advocate will become before the board and it appears that they will prevail. Those that do not will not. That is a dangerous precedent.

There were 15 written registrations: one in support of the referendum; 8 opposed to moving children from Crestwood to Stephens; one opposed to disrupting Crestwood, Stephens, Muir current student populations and altering "island" populations; one opposed to boundary changes; 3 in support of Option 3A2; and one opposed to filling schools to capacity.

Item 4 was taken up again.

4. Boundary Change Options to address Overcrowding at Leopold Elementary School

Discussion: Special education students are handled by the (Individual Education Plan) IEP teams. Budget changes from school closings are noted at the bottom of the relevant plans. Administration was asked to take off some options; Hoyt taken off because of how it is currently used, it is not ADA (American Disabilities Association) accessible, and the location is not good for getting seats there. Issue of having islands rather than moving a small number of children. Allied Drive enrollment is decreasing. Leopold site would contain two separate schools of 560 students; it is not a school of 1120.

Ms. Robarts noted that the next meeting would be a public hearing at Leopold on March 2. The administration could have the new options within two weeks. There was some discussion relative to the architectural drawings submitted in 2002 and voting on a cap of the number of students. There was also some discussion about the issue of keeping smaller schools open, adequately staffed with resources. The plans for the far west side include building six new elementary schools, two middle schools, and a high school. Issues at Leopold during the 2002 discussions included ownership of the land, purchased with two schools in mind, lack of support for a paired school in the southern part of that district because of the difference in family income and giving parents around Leopold access. Fostering more discussion among City Planning, developers, and the school district. Research on optimum school size is not clear. Difficult to pass a referendum until a school is overcrowded. Allied Drive residents would have a choice about the schools they attend. Ms. Robarts noted that the committee would be working on a 3-5 year long range plan eventually.

FOLLOW UP: Include the next packet a proposal to make no boundary changes. Provide an option for the situation where the referendum does not pass that leaves as many children in place as possible and where the 45 minute bus ride is not a major barrier (there was a suggestion to take a West area district and bus children to Mendota where there is room). Provide a mobility analysis of the Allied Drive neighborhood. Report on the affect to the two options if the enrollment at the Leopold site is capped at 800 to 900 students. Provide a City map of what Madison will look like in 2020.

6. Other Business

There was no other business.

7. Adjournment

It was moved by Carol Carstensen and seconded by Johnny Winston, Jr. to adjourn the meeting at 8:39 p.m. Motion unanimously carried.