Madison Metropolitan School District
Madison, Wisconsin

Art Rainwater, Superintendent
BOARD OF EDUCATION
Minutes for Long Range Planning
December 19, 2005
Doyle Administration Building
545 West Dayton Street, McDaniels Auditorium
Madison, Wisconsin

Long Range Planning Committee meeting was called to order by Chair Bill Keys at 7:26 p.m.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Bill Keys, Lawrie Kobza, Juan José López

MEMBERS ABSENT: None

OTHER BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: Carol Carstensen, Ruth Robarts, Shwaw Vang, Johnny Winston, Jr.

STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE PRESENT: Connor Gants

STAFF PRESENT: Sue Abplanalp, Rita Applebaum, Jane Belmore, Mary Gulbrandsen, Kurt Kiefer, Roger Price, Art Rainwater, Loren Rathert, Ken Syke, Ann Wilson - Recording Secretary

1. Approval of Minutes

It was moved by Juan José López and seconded by Lawrie Kobza to approve the Long Range Planning Committee minutes dated November 14, 2005 as distributed. Motion unanimously carried.

2. Announcements

There were no announcements.

3. Preliminary Report on the Progress of the East Attendance Area Demographics and Long Range Facility Needs Task Force

(Packets included the East Attendance Area Demographics and Long Range Facility Needs Task Force Preliminary Report and Executive Summary dated December 19, 2005 - attached to the original copy of these minutes.)

Bill Keys noted the two task forces (East and Memorial/West) had many meetings of various types (regular task force, community forums, planning meetings with staff, work group sessions) and spent many hours working on their charges. He stated this is only a preliminary report. Mary Gulbrandsen asked Task Force members who were in attendance to stand. She added they had been diligent and conscientious and studied to the degree necessary to understand the complexities involved.

Mary Gulbrandsen stated the Task Forces will meet again this week to work on finalizing the recommendations. Those recommendations may be presented to the community before coming to the Board of Education in a final report, scheduled for January 23. She noted the Task Forces have included questions for the Board of Education in their preliminary reports that will guide them as they continue working.

Rita Applebaum presented the information in the East Attendance Area preliminary report. Board members responded to the questions posed in the report.

Question 1 - Will placing the Alternative Programs at an elementary school eliminate the option from consideration?

Are there any proposals for relocation of alternative programs?

Alternative program students side-by-side with elementary students is not the right direction to go in.

Would be more concerned about alternative program placement in middle or high school than elementary; big enough age difference.

Supportive of location in an elementary school.

Needs serious consideration - with parameters, planning, attention to security. Safety cannot be compromised.

Can't bunch all alternatives together as one program. Safety is a concern. There are advantages to interaction in a controlled environment. Could support as a recommendation.

Question 2 - Will the Board of Education continue to provide for Task Force members' and parents' participation on school district issues in the future?

Welcome continued participation; good discussion and representation.

Would like to see more participation by parents and teachers.

Support keeping task forces active for more interaction.

Will be important to have continued involvement of task forces.

Yes.

DISCUSSION/COMMENTS:

Personal view is that there needs to be a shift of students from the West to East attendance areas. Concern that these options were taken off the table for consideration. It will be the Board's job to determine affect on budget; will be paying attention to that.

Have concerns about mixing student levels, but would entertain that if recommended by the Task Force.

Budget considerations are important. Don't want to close schools. Pairing is attractive, plausible; calls for educational creativity. Entire Board will look collectively for causing the least amount of disruption.

Has there been discussion of moving Doyle?

Preliminary recommendations are a beginning point; respectful to listen. Reserve the right to disagree. May have to look at other options, like closing schools.

It was moved by Juan José López and seconded by Lawrie Kobza to change the order of the agenda and have Public Appearances earlier in the meeting. Motion unanimously carried. They are recorded at this point but actually took place in the middle of item #5, presentation of the Memorial/West Task Force preliminary report.

4. Public Appearances

Josh Day -The work of the East Task Force has been difficult and all is not well. Mistake was made in giving this task to parents when the potential is there to recommend closing a school. Not much in the way of political cover, and the issue was taken off for consideration. Decentralize administration. Need a happy home for the alternative programs at Doyle.

Tim Olson - Would like to see the Board and Administration take a leadership role at the front. Alternative programs at elementary schools is ill-conceived; why not share/pair with administration? Assessed value of Doyle is much higher than estimated.

Matt Calvert - Support taking school closings off as an option. Small neighborhood schools are worth the investment. Maintaining schools in the Isthmus should be part of the district's long range mission - high test scores, parent involvement; revitalizes Isthmus neighborhoods. Need flexibility of small buildings. Focus on needs of all students.

Sally de Broux - East Isthmus is a unique area that co-exists with neighborhood schools. Keep a strong MMSD presence in the Isthmus. Give equal or more consideration to moving administration. Support maintaining small schools even on east side. Closing a school does not address the largeness or reality of budgetary issues - creates great disruption for a very small savings.

Sandra Bonnici Hoecherl - Proposed East Task Force options will break up communities, not address equity and not create significant changes or cost savings to warrant dismantling a highly functioning school pair, Lapham/Marquette. Consider the investment already in these schools; don't turn away from the equity that is built up.

Bill Fitzpatrick - Proposed non-new construction options are very harmful to the Spring Harbor neighborhood. Very little benefit to crowding. Better options exist. Consider allowing dislocated students to return to their original high school feeder path. Best option is to use existing space in all schools and in the future build new schools.

John Johnson - Last week's community luncheon at Lapham is a celebration of the Isthmus community.

Kenneth Duren - Lapham/Marquette is an outstanding neighborhood school and an important neighborhood anchor. Parent support of staff and students is outstanding. The appropriate standard to apply is "academic excellence" and Lapham/Marquette excels. Highest/best use of Lapham facility is as an elementary school. Get other kids to those schools to keep them open.

Mike Wygocki - Mistake to not include La Follette in the boundary discussions. Savings from options are not that great. Disconcerting to read in the newspaper that the teachers union received much more from insurance savings. The decisions the Task Forces will make definitely are motivated by finances. East area development is being overlooked.

Written registrations:

Matthew Raw - Task Force did the best they could so far; of course, nobody is happy with the results.

Shari Entenmann, Diane Scherschel, Jason Delborne, Diane Brusee, and Kim Neuschel - Support keeping the Lapham/Marquette/O'Keeffe schools open and are very interested in being informed of the work of the Task Force and recommendations that are coming forward.

5. Preliminary Report on the Progress of the Memorial/West Attendance Areas Demographics and Long Range Facility Needs Task Force

(Packets included the Demographics and Long Range Facility Needs Task Force for the Memorial and West Attendance Areas Preliminary Report dated December 19, 2005 and Executive Summary - attached to the original copy of these minutes.)

Jane Belmore presented the information in the Preliminary Report.

COMMENTS/DISCUSSION:

Surprised by significant change in options supported at forums and those that appear in the report. Thought the Task Force was on the right track with option C3 which moved only 178 kids and keeps them in the West Area. Would like to see the transportation report.

Concern about the information the Task Force used in looking at the Ridgewood apartment complex.

REQUEST FOR INFORMATION:

Lawrie Kobza asked for the information that was shared with the Task Force about transportation times and costs.

Committee members responded to the questions Task Force members posed in the preliminary report:

Question 1 - What will be the process to determine class size and how will this relate to capacity and the work of the Task Force?

Not an issue the Board has discussed, but will need to.

There is a process in place, but the budget situation will have an affect.

Anticipate this will come up during budget deliberations. Reasonable to look at the poverty level and what we can afford as we go forward.

Will look at determining the largest possible class size without affecting educational quality.

Question 2 - How will elementary students whose attendance area boundaries are changed putting them into a different middle or high school attendance area be assigned to middle school and high school?

Would look at recommendations made by the Task Force.

Definitely a challenge. Need to look at this issue closely.

Could be flexible so that students follow the path they began in elementary school.

Question 3 - What overtures have Board members made to the "no" voters in the previous referendum?

Will be important to send accurate information and to have a unified Board.

Related to the process we should have for making decisions.

Everyone has different reasons for voting in a certain way.

Question 4 - What is the thinking of the Board in relation to selling Hoyt School? Where would the money go?

Would be a one-time solution; will not address long term issues.

Would prefer not to sell and keep building to handle overflow from West; gives up that potential for handling overcrowding there.

Would be fine to sell; do not believe West could use it.

Question 5 - How does the Board of Education see $6-$10 million budget reduction in relation to the work of the Task Force regarding boundary changes?

There will be budget cuts for many years to come.

It will be the task of the Board to work out the budget; not a responsibility of the Task Force.

Question 6 - How does the Board of Education view the idea of sending grade 5 students to middle school?

It may work in some schools; need more information in order to answer this question.

Need more information.

May be workable if necessary and if planned correctly.

Question 7 - What is the cost to the taxpayer of a new school?

Between $16-$20 million plus operating and teacher costs.

Question 8 - What is the Task Force member's role once the final report is done?

Involvement in follow-up.

Certainly would like continued input and involvement.

Hope they continue to be involved as we move into the budget process.

COMMENTS/DISCUSSION:

Decisions have not yet been made; all options are still on the table. Will be additional meetings and forums and then the entire Board will make the final decision.

The work of the Finance Operations committee will be critical. There will be difficult decisions to make at the state and local level; Task Force members participating in additional forums will be helpful. For the most part, taxpayers are supportive of the district and a unified Board of Education will help to garner the support of the community.

Promises the Board made to the Leopold community re: overcrowding have not been kept. Will be great growth on the West side; hope that recommendations provide for long range planning.

Bill Keys thanked the chairs and liaisons to the Task Forces for their reports and Task Force members for their thoughtful consideration of issues. He stated their recommendations will weigh heavily as the Long Range Planning Committee makes its recommendations to the Board of Education.

6. Other Business

There was no other business.

7. Adjournment

It was moved by Juan José López and seconded by Lawrie Kobza to adjourn the meeting at 10:08 p.m. Motion unanimously carried.

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