|Madison Metropolitan School District
Art Rainwater, Superintendent
|BOARD OF EDUCATION
Minutes for Long Range Planning
March 14, 2005
|Doyle Administration Building, Room 103
545 West Dayton Street
Long Range Planning Committee meeting was called to order by Chair Ruth Robarts at 6 p.m.
MEMBERS PRESENT: Carol Carstensen, Ruth Robarts, Johnny Winston, Jr.
MEMBERS ABSENT: None
OTHER BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: Bill Clingan, Bill Keys, Shwaw Vang
ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBERS
PRESENT: Hardin Coleman, Dawn Crim, Joan Eggert, Jill Jokela, Jeff Leverich, Lucy Mathiak, Jan Sternbach, and Student Representatives Oliver Kiefer and Lena Song
STAFF PRESENT: Sue Abplanalp, Jennie Allen, Jane Belmore, Valencia Douglas, Kurt Kiefer, Doug Pearson, Roger Price, Art Rainwater, Ken Syke, Barbara Lehman-Recording Secretary
1. Public Appearances
Lawrence Winkler wanted to know if a recent newspaper article was true stating that 850 apartments at Ridgewood would be closed next year. He was concerned with that statement and the impact on Leopold School and the referendum and the language used in the referendum. He hoped the board would look at this issue on how the referendum is approached. He was disappointed at the Long Range Planning Committee meeting that was conducted at Leopold calling it very unprofessional, particularly the behavior of Bill Clingan, Juan José López, and Oliver Kiefer in refusing to use the "m" word throughout the meeting. He thought it was childish and showed a failure to respectfully disagree. He was also disturbed by Bill Keys' comments. He felt an open discussion was needed about making respectful comments to other board members in public.
Arlene Silveira, Leopold parent, supported a second building on the Leopold site. She is hearing that people do not want to move and want to stay at their schools. No one has to go anywhere if the referendum is passed. She encouraged people to take conversations one step further and say if the referendum passes the boundaries will not have to change and achieve the goal of staying at neighborhood schools.
Patricia Maniaci, representing Kennedy parents and staff, opposed the budget recommendation to cut support staff at Kennedy because it is a non-SAGE school. They lack the support and resources that SAGE schools have and cutting back would greatly impact how effective they can be in meeting the needs of their students. She distributed a letter with signatures asking the board to look carefully at this issue (a copy is attached to the original of these minutes).
Melanie Hirshfeld, Stephens parent, was not advocating for any particular boundary plan but did not believe that their "islands" needed to be reduced. She supported keeping their community as is and questioned the value of having all Allied Drive children move to a single high school. PTO families have worked hard to raise funds and just decided to join the Madison Endowment Fund. Their efforts would be lost if they had to move. She asked that as few children as possible be moved.
Ron Yee, Stephens parent, stated that their decision to move to Wexford was based on the school. He understood the financial decisions and ripple effect if the Leopold referendum does not pass, but added that anything that could be done to minimize the number of kids that have to be moved would be greatly appreciated.
Marisue Horton, Crestwood parent, distributed a survey (a copy is attached to the original of these minutes) she sent home to their community to about 350 families and staff. She gave very simplistic definitions to the plans just to raise awareness. There was about a 5 percent return and 13 of 15 favored those recommendations made by the administration. There were some questions and the survey was meant for those who do not have computers. She thanked the committee for having a meeting at Allied Drive and agreed that they do not want to move again and do not want to be at the same high school. Crestwood is concerned about continuing to meet SAGE requirements if the Allied Drive students are moved and welcome that community. They want to pass the Leopold referendum but realize the capacity numbers would force those families in the island to move at some point. They would like to move just once.
Ms. Robarts noted that this would be the last meeting on the Leopold referendum part but that they would still need to look at the interim plan. Public hearings will be held also on the Hawthorne and Lake View proposals. She wanted a report on the future of Ridgewood.
Sandy Meuer was happy about the all the changes coming in to the boundary proposals and that the committee is adapting to the changes. She favored plan 3D3 moving the least number of families. They purchased their home because of the school; they value the MMSD, and noted that people move to Madison because the school district is so good. They do not care if they are an island. There is some space in other schools where children might have to be moved. There are growing developments and the new families do not yet have an attachment to a school. She preferred looking at future developments.
Kevin Kosoola, Stephens parent, urged adoption of plan 3D2 or 3D3 if the referendum does not pass. These plans move the fewest number of students and have the least impact on Stephens. They value their sense of community at Stephens and want to see it preserved. The diversity at Stephens is a strength. His daughter has severe food allergies and they worked hard to build a team at the school to help reduce her risk of exposure and staff can give medicine in case of an emergency. This kind of teamwork is incredibly valuable to his family and they would like to see it preserved.
Deb Johnson, Stephens parent, noted that their family lives within walking distance but, if boundaries change, her children will be directly affected because many of their friends will be gone. She asked that their school community not be changed; they have great diversity (a copy of her statement is attached to the original of these minutes).
Beth Zurbuchen, Leopold parent, was very pleased with this process. She stated that those people who do not go to Leopold are reaching out in a way she found to be overwhelmingly exciting. She thinks the district is disengaged. She felt there were many people who will or will not vote in the city who are lumping all three referenda together. The radio has been vicious. They have to join together and be smart. They do not want to move any families. All three referenda need to be passed. She was very concerned about the negative conversations but did not want that to defeat what is best for Madison's schools. The message from the PTOs is very powerful.
Beth Moss, Stephens parent, noted that the boundary changes do not affect her family but they want to preserve the school so she urged adoption of options 3D2 and 3D3 if the referendum fails. Stephens is well known among families for fully integrating children with autism. Staff and parents constantly advocate for social acceptance at Stephens. There is a group of students at Stephens who want to raise awareness about autism and this group would be split up if one of the modules is adopted. It is an amazing school that works. She will campaign for the referendum and for one of the best school districts in the country (a copy of her statement is attached to the original of these minutes).
There were nine written registrations, including one in opposition to the size of the proposed school on the Leopold site and the location; three in support of the Leopold referendum; three in support of the Leopold referendum and keeping "attendance islands"; and two in support of boundary changes that move the least number of children.
The next public hearing is scheduled for April 6.
There were no announcements.
3. Questions and Concerns regarding the Proposed Referendum to Construct a Second Elementary School on the Leopold Elementary School Site
(Packets included Module 3A5. A copy is attached to the original of these minutes.)
Mr. Price was asked to report on a recent meeting of the Fitchburg City Council relative to the Ridgewood Country Club area. There is no plan in place but any future plans must include a provision for diversified housing arrangements. There is no move to close the apartments. The action by the City Council was only to tell the developer to move ahead confidently. As of right now, there are a number of apartments that are vacant. The City has reassured the MMSD about including a diversified population in that area and the developer can go ahead and make plans. They did indicate that the MMSD would have the opportunity to have input into that process and the district administration will be involved. Mr. Price clarified some issues around the cafeteria, the gymnasium, the library, playground, parking and bus issues.
Discussion: Condemnation has not been a part of any conversation but the media is claiming that a resolution was passed unanimously for possible condemnation. It was not known whether any neighborhood organizations or people in the Ridgewood apartments have been notified. On April 2 there is going to be a meeting at Leopold and the Gorman Company is going to have listening sessions. Confirmed the fact that the project will result in two separate schools with two separate administrations.
FOLLOW UP: Reschedule the hearing on March 31. Provide a copy of what the Fitchburg City Council passed relative to Ridgewood.
4. Other Business
There was no other business.
It was moved by Johnny Winston, Jr. and seconded by Carol Carstensen to adjourn the meeting at 7:05 p.m. Motion unanimously carried.