Madison Metropolitan School District
Madison, Wisconsin

Art Rainwater, Superintendent
BOARD OF EDUCATION
Minutes for Long Range Planning
June 6, 2005
Doyle Administration Building
545 West Dayton Street, Room 103
Madison, Wisconsin

Long Range Planning Committee meeting was called to order by Chair Bill Keys at 5:01 p.m.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Bill Keys, Lawrie Kobza, Juan José López (arrived 5:04 p.m.)

MEMBERS ABSENT: None

OTHER BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: Carol Carstensen, Ruth Robarts, Shwaw Vang (arrived 5:23 p.m.), Johnny Winston, Jr. (arrived 5:08 p.m.), and Student Representative Oliver Kiefer

STAFF PRESENT: Sue Abplanalp, Jennie Allen, Jane Belmore, Mary Gulbrandsen, Roger Price, Joe Quick, Art Rainwater, Barbara Lehman-Recording Secretary

1. Approval of Minutes

It was moved by Lawrie Kobza and seconded by Bill Keys to approve the minutes of the Long Range Planning Committee meeting dated May 23, 2005 with a correction to Item 5, paragraph 3, to re-word the motion as follows: "...to direct the Administration to provide a recommendation to develop a task force...." Motion unanimously carried by those present.

2. Public Appearances

Arlene Silveira, Leopold parent, asked that the committee hold a public hearing at Leopold or the next Long Range Planning meeting.

Juan José López arrived at this time.

She was angry about the vote and felt their community was sold out by Ms. Robarts and Ms. Kobza who did not respond about what their plans were for a better option. The Leopold community deserves equitable consideration.

Johnny Winston, Jr. arrived at this time.

Beth Zurbuchen, Leopold parent, agreed that Ms. Kobza and Ms. Robarts derailed the Leopold referendum. She requested that the district go back in the fall. Their children are being targeted by private schools. If the school is not built, many families will choose to move away and that could create a school of poverty. She asked that the maximum busing time remain at 45 minutes, that the students not be transported across the isthmus, bypassing a school would not be acceptable, and that they remain in the West attendance area. The community is looking for a long-term solution.

Joan Eggert, Huegel parent, supported the referendum. Talked about the divided community and how equity is the most important thing when it comes to public schools. Agreed that the Board has to represent the entire community and listen to its expert staff members. Leopold needs answers. Everyone should be bused, not just the west side children. She asked the committee to go back and ask the experts what to do now. She added that closing schools should be considered.

Kathryn Burns, kindergarten teacher at Leopold, talked about poverty and the impact of doubling classes. A second referendum would fail if the board does not work together. She wanted the board to go back again. She did not want the low-income children to be bused around and asked the committee to be fair and balanced in who they move around.

Andrew Hiladen, Huegel parent, did not want their child to transfer to another school.

Shwaw Vang arrived at this time.

He added that the web site was confusing and that it was not clear that there would be no changes for the next school year.

Nuala Doty, Fitchburg parent, child was outposted to Huegel and the school is even more overcrowded now than when she left; did not serve any purpose. If the boundary changes take them out of the West attendance area, she will sell her home. There are four houses in her neighborhood for sale. She felt the board should make another attempt at the referendum and not change the boundaries for this population.

Sara Cutler, teacher at Leopold Elementary for two years, taught in California and New York. Madison has a national reputation for being one of the best school districts. She did not see the board sell the referendum. Test scores have improved due to SAGE impact; she opposed doubling up classrooms. She asked that the committee be thoughtful about what it does.

Alex Phelps, teacher at Hamilton Middle and Leopold parent, wanted to move beyond the pain and anger. He wanted some equity and a plan for educating children in Fitchburg. He asked Ms. Robarts and Ms. Kobza what their plans are for his children's education.

Chris Kolar stated that parents want to stay at Leopold and in the West attendance area. Did not believe a second referendum would pass without a plan for if it fails. Closing and consolidating schools should be considered so the public does not view it as a Leopold problem.

Susan Roehlk, third grade teacher at Leopold, the board needs to regroup and treat the children equally. A decision needs to be made and it needs to be made clear to the public. They do not want a school of poverty. Bus rides of 45 minutes are not good. The board members must represent all the constituencies.

Lori Zinck-Jezwinski, resident of Arbor Hills, had children in the district for 21 years and works as a nurse at Leopold, stated that they need to be treated equitably. People commented that this was Leopold's problem. She did not get any information about the impact on Leopold. The board has an obligation to develop a plan.

Don Severson suggested that there is a way to get this done equitably. The board needs to look at the entire community, particularly the west side. There are some alternatives that ought to be discussed openly and deeply. He has not seen that in the past really knowing what the data are and what the projections are. He thought a roundtable discussion with stakeholders was needed. They had some alternatives to offer; modular classrooms, adding on to the Boys and Girls Club, building a school on Allied Drive.

There was some discussion about the unanimous decision in committee to build a second school on the Leopold site and the wealth of information that was shared along with all the many alternatives offered, the high cost of portable classrooms, and the involvement of the citizen members.

Sue Wagner, kindergarten teacher at Leopold, asked the committee to consider the short-term option of doubling up the SAGE classrooms, while the implication of having 30-34 five-year-olds in one classroom was huge and compromises the learning environment. She had no suggestions for the second year.

Annette Montgomery, five year Madison resident, did not want to eliminate SAGE, was unhappy about the fine arts, would not sell her home, and wanted to stay at Leopold. She felt the board should start saying no if they cannot come up with any other option and it should be painful for everyone. She asked why the east side got what they wanted but Leopold did not. The board has to communicate that it is about everyone.

Marisue Horton noted that some people will just vote no. Fitchburg and Verona do not believe they pay Madison taxes. The election was west vs. east. Thoreau was afraid of losing SAGE. Trailers do not work. The district has to put the buildings where the business is growing. She suggested looking at Hoyt and the Dudgeon homeless shelter. Reassure the Allied Drive Community. Land is free at the Leopold site.

Judy Olson, Fitchburg resident, did not want to be treated unfairly and was opposed to 45-minute bus rides.

Mayor Clauder was willing to hold a discussion among the board members and members of his city council. Talked about Ridgewood noting that he could not help but that there is at least a sale with a local developer. He did not know if it would go in the right direction. People in Fitchburg talk about all the school districts they have. They cannot afford their own high school. He stated that the City of Madison has driven people to the suburbs. He wanted to work together with the board and did not want anyone to leave Fitchburg.

Elizabeth Wingert wanted the Leopold community to stay together and asked that the referendum be brought back in the fall.

Written registrations included 12 in support of Leopold and 1 in support of arts in the curriculum and 1 in support of the decisions to hold down costs and consolidate with other districts for office management.

3. Announcements

There were no announcements.

4. Proposed Plans to Address the Overcrowded Student Population at Leopold Elementary School for 2005-06

(Packets included a memorandum outlining the interim plans for 2005-07 (4/7/05) and a preliminary floor plan and schedule for adding two classrooms in the basement of Leopold (6/2/05). Copies are attached to the original of these minutes.)

The Superintendent stated that, absent some action by the board, they would proceed immediately to construct the two classrooms and rewire the Library Media Center to handle the interim plan for the next two years. The project will be funded by a state trust fund loan.

Discussion: Cafeteria classroom is part of a permanent change in the old building. Short-term changes only there will have to be a new building or boundary changes. District is in negotiations for two additional building sites on the west side. Meetings are not urgent because there will be no changes for next year.

It was moved by Lawrie Kobza and seconded by Juan Jos L pez that the Long Range Planning Committee direct the administration to develop a task force to address the West and Memorial attendance area demographics and long range facility needs, a charge to the task force, task force membership, task force timeline, and task force process by July 1, 2005. Motion unanimously carried.

FOLLOW UP: Give a briefing on current land acquisition plans. Options for Leopold will be laid out at the June 27 meeting.

5. Other Business

There was no other business.

6. Adjournment

It was moved by Juan José López and seconded by Lawrie Kobza to adjourn the meeting at 6:54 p.m. Motion unanimously carried.

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