Madison Metropolitan School District
Madison, Wisconsin

Art Rainwater, Superintendent
Minutes for Regular Meetings
February 2, 2004
Doyle Administration Building
545 West Dayton Street, McDaniels Auditorium
Madison, Wisconsin


The Board of Education meeting was called to order by President Bill Keys at 7:15 p.m.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Carol Carstensen, Bill Clingan, Bill Keys, Juan Jos L pez, Ruth Robarts, Shwaw Vang


STAFF PRESENT: Jane Belmore, Valencia Douglas, Mary Gulbrandsen, Doug Pearson, Roger Price, Art Rainwater, Marcia Standiford, Ken Syke, Lisa Wachtel, Barbara Lehman-Recording Secretary

LEGAL COUNSEL PRESENT: Attorney Clarence Sherrod

Science Coordinator Lisa Wachtel described how UW-Madison graduate students, working as partners with MMSD teachers, bring real science research directly to middle school classrooms and students in the Kindergarten through Infinity program. The KTI program started as a grant proposal by Dr. Terrence Millar, UW-Madison Associate Dean of the Physical Sciences, Professor of Mathematics, and Director of the National Science Foundation SCALE (System-wide Change for All Learners and Educators) grant with the MMSD. There are currently four KTI fellows - two at East, one at La Follette, and one at West. Dr. Millar spoke about how kids learn mathematics and the role of the teacher in making that happen. He then introduced the KTI fellows in attendance: Bret Benesh, Andrew Shallue, Aaron Weinberg, Asher Langton, Adam Green, Lindsay Anderson, Ronke Olabisi, and Amy Berta.


It was moved by Juan Jos L pez and seconded by Shwaw Vang to approve the minutes of the Regular Board of Education meeting dated January 4, 2004. Motion unanimously carried by those present.


Support for adding gender identity and gender expression to the district's nondiscrimination policy:

Sunshine Jones, speech therapist who works with youth, felt it would help make the schools safer.

Nicole Hill, sophomore at West High, felt the change would help her and others feel free to express themselves.

Brian Juchems, sophomore at West High and member of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Education Committee, was very pleased that the district had already taken the steps to draft policies and advocated for teaching staff about these policies. (Information packets were distributed and a copy is attached to the original of these minutes.)

Jason Rasmussen, Executive Director of GLSEN, wanted to not simply modernize the current policies but raise dialogue about how this will be implemented. He suggested a task force composed of students, educators, parents, and community members to examine district literature, programs, and procedures.

Paul Grossberg, pediatrician and parent, referenced an issue of the New England Journal of Medicine in which the lead article was on physical identity. The subject is current and people are talking about it throughout the world. (He was asked to share a copy of the article with the Board.)

Colleen Kellogg, teacher at Shabazz, noted that the power of inclusive language cannot be underestimated.

Joann Elder reiterated that it was not enough to just prepare the materials but to change the climate to one where teachers read those materials and attend workshops. She added that there is a long way to go to normalize differences.

Betsy Bergin commended the district for acting upon the needs of all the students. She spoke about her oldest daughter who attended Madison schools and her attempted suicide as a result of the ridicule she faced every day from students and some staff. She added that there is an incredible need to make students and staff feel comfortable and have avenues for those who do not fit the gender box. She asked the Board to please be thorough. (The Superintendent was asked to follow up on the incident involving a security guard whom Ms. Bergin said took no action during an attack.)

Mike Subkoviak father of a transgender child who is a graduate of the Madison schools, spoke about the lack of understanding he experienced as well as that of the school staff and some professionals in the mental health profession. He now knows that a supportive environment and help from professionals really makes a difference. The policy will be consistent with a number of policies passed in Dane County and the City of Madison. He agreed with appointing a task force to implement it and wanted to be part of that group.

Ashleah Bennett, student at East High, noted that gender expression needs to be added to the policy so people like her can be who they are and be safe. She asked that people be trained to understand what is being changed.

Desarae King, sophomore at West High, stated that people should be able to express themselves no matter how different they are.

Bryan Utley, Shabazz, thanked the board for its continuing efforts to make the schools safer and asked that guidelines be developed for the successful implementation of gender identity and gender expression. He stated that people are facing real problems at the schools and this would help.

Sol Kelley-Jones, junior in the Madison schools, stated that students must conform or face verbal or physical harassment. Thanked the board for supporting this in the schools.

John Quinlan, Outreach, thanked the board and stated that the need to deepen the understanding of these experiences was more important than changing the policy. He asked the district to call upon the resources at the meeting-community organizations and the young people.

Mr. L pez nominated Bill Keys, Clarence Sherrod, Art Rainwater, and Bonnie Augusta for public recognition at the Outreach banquet for the bold steps being taken and for their encouragement and wisdom.

Judy Gump, English teacher and advisor to the Gay-Straight Alliance at Memorial High School, thanked the board for its continuing support in this effort and in providing domestic partner health benefits. She noted the difficulty in getting people into her organization who need it because the assumption is that the members are gay or lesbian. Everyone needs to be informed of these policies and she suggested educating the school community as part of their orientation.

Jamie Schoenemann, sophomore at East High School, thanked Ms. Augusta for coming to eighth grade adding that everyone has to know that harassment is not allowed and thanked the board for making it safer for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) students.

Brianna Buhr, sophomore at East High School, read a letter of testimony from Megan Bergin who was working. She appreciated the time taken to listen to the stories and of her attempted suicide in November as a result of harassment issues.

Mr. L pez asked that the security guards discuss this issue and bolster their training in this regard.

Stephanie Wele, junior at La Follette High School and member of the La Follette Gay-Straight Alliance, said it was important to pass the policy changes and implement guidelines so the harassment will end. Everyone will benefit.

Max Camp, LGTQ Director for the United Council of UW Students, is working toward this kind of policy change at the UW and this will be a catalyst. Added that if there were more proactive measures beginning in elementary school and middle and high schools, there would be far fewer incidents on college campuses.

Jackson Bowman, east side resident who works with LGBTQ people, was grateful to the board for finding ways to further protect students and staff and for sending a clear message that it is never acceptable to harass.

Timothy Hereid, teacher who works with several community organizations that work with youth, stated that homophobia and transphobia are pretty heavily entrenched in the schools. In a recent Dane County study, it was noted that students say they hear unacceptable words more than 17 times per day. The policy will help everyone and there must be education to back it up. Many of the organizations present at the this meeting could help.

Oliver Kiefer, West High School Young Democrats Association, carried the organization's endorsement for the policy changes proposed tonight. Also plays varsity football and admitted that stereotypes and jokes are noticed and heard every day. Agreed that the next step should be to appoint a task force. He noticed it a lot more at the middle school level and they developed a program called Satellite and traveled to all the elementary schools and talked about harassment. That organization continues today. It is still and issue and the work is still needed.

Renee Simousek, Madison Area Transgender Association, thanked the board for giving everyone an equal opportunity in their education. These were the people left behind for so many years. Education will be needed to let people know that people are born with a difference and are still learning who they are and how to be themselves.

Bev Buhr stated that these issues start in elementary school and are an issue. She asked that this be kept in mind when the new policies are implemented.

FOLLOW UP: The Administration will provide the recommended policy changes and recommendations for implementation and training around the nondiscrimination policy and for seeking out community support.

Other issues:

Rev. Dick Pritshard supported the work of the Wexford Ridge Neighborhood Center but questioned whether two acres was sufficient space.

Don Severson, Active Citizens for Education, with regard to the budget process made a recommendation with respect to values and the necessity for cost analyses and cost-benefit programs and positions in the district. He suggested that the cost analysis approach used for the Nuestro Mundo proposal is vital to provide the board with information to make enlightened decisions. Similarly, the governor's task force on finance reform proposal dealt with different mechanisms of funding education and one put forward a model for cost analysis and research on resources that are available for this. His group will be providing the board with a proposal and some information regarding this approach for incorporation into the board's future decision making.

Lauren Thliveris, Walnut Grove Homeowners Association, supported the work of the Wexford Ridge Neighborhood Center but they are concerned about its location, particularly with traffic. She presented a petition in the hopes that other locations could be considered (a copy of the petition is attached to the original of these minutes).

Written registrations included 12 in support of the district's action to add gender identity and gender expression to its nondiscrimination policy and in support of the proposal from the Wexford Ridge Neighborhood Center.


A copy of the report is attached to the original of these minutes.


A copy of the report is attached to the original of these minutes.


A Performance and Achievement

1 It was moved by Juan Jos L pez and seconded by Carol Carstensen to approve the Evaluation of Learning Materials Committee adoptions in the amount of $14,601. Motion unanimously carried by those present.

Juan Jos L pez reported that the committee met today where Jane Belmore and Tim Potter gave a presentation on class size in reference to the SAGE program. The presentation made a comparison of non-SAGE classrooms vs. SAGE classrooms and noted the increased performance of low income, African American and ELL students, and all students in the program. It is proving to be a very successful and positive program. The next meeting is planned for March 15 to hear about ESL and bilingual education in the district.

B Finance and Operations

Carol Carstensen reported on the meeting held in January to get a first initial look at the 2004-05 budget. The estimated gap is $9.3 million. The committee will meet again on February 16 to get a presentation on the last of the departments, Madison School Community Recreation, and get a more refined look at the budget and continue to discuss how to approach the process. The balanced budget is expected on March 8 or March 15.

C Human Resources

No report.

D Long Range Planning

Bill Clingan announced that a meeting is set for March 1 to discuss building capacities.

E Partnerships

1 It was moved by Juan Jos L pez and seconded by Bill Clingan that the Administration work with William Wilcox, of CBM Credit Education Foundation, Inc.; David Mancl, Chair of the Wisconsin Jumpstart Coalition and a Director in the Office of Financial Education for the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions; and Professor Bill Duddleston, Director of the Center for Economic Education at Edgewood College; on a plan for implementing a personal finance course at all four high schools, including curriculum and funding, and report back to the Performance and Achievement Committee. Motion unanimously carried by those present.

F Legislative

No report.


A Auditing

1 It was moved by Juan Jos L pez and seconded by Bill Clingan that interim bills be approved amounting to $36,134,653.70 and covering the period January 5, 2004 through January 30, 2004. Motion unanimously carried by those present.

2 There were no School Building Fund bills.

B Purchasing

1 It was moved by Juan Jos L pez and seconded by Bill Clingan to approve the bid of $83,207 from Gary Brown Roofing for roof rehabilitation at Kennedy Elementary School with funding from the 2004-05 General Operating Budget. Motion unanimously carried by those present.

2 It was moved by Juan Jos L pez and seconded by Bill Clingan to approve the bid of $63,100 from Walsdorf Roofing for roof rehabilitation at Allis Elementary School with funding from the 2004-05 General Operating Budget. Motion unanimously carried by those present.

C Other Financial Transactions

1 It was moved by Juan Jos L pez and seconded by Bill Clingan that the 2003-04 budget be increased by $149,025 to support the Fund for the Improvement of Education (FIE)/Positive Behavior Support Team (PBST) with funding from the U.S. Department of Education. Motion unanimously carried by those present.

2 It was moved by Juan Jos L pez and seconded by Bill Clingan that the 2003-04 budget be increased by $200,000 to support the IDEA Education Framework with funding from a federal grant.

3 It was moved by Juan Jos L pez and seconded by Carol Carstensen that all donations and grants received by the Madison Metropolitan School District since January 5, 2004 be approved. Motion unanimously carried by those present.


It was moved by Bill Clingan and seconded by Ruth Robarts to approve Item VIII A-G in its entirety with the exception of any item a Board member may wish to have separated out. There were no separations and the motion carried unanimously with Ray Allen absent.


A Common Council/Board of Education Liaison Committee

No report.

B MMSD Monthly Finance Report

Roger Price reported that 39% of the budget has been expended while 11% has been received, hence the reason for the short-term borrowing. Departments continue to be monitored.

C Comprehensive School Reform Grants

Jane Belmore reported that Allis, Lindberg, and Schenk will join a fairly long list of schools that have applied and received this grant. All three schools are building their school-wide reform program around the Professional Learning Communities model (a copy of a detailed report is attached to the original of these minutes). The Board enthusiastically supported the applications.


A It was moved by Juan Jos L pez and seconded by Bill Clingan that, pursuant to the provisions of Section 118.15 of State Statutes, 16 students be excused from school attendance for the purpose of allowing them to enroll in programs for high school equivalency diplomas. Motion unanimously carried by those present.

B It was moved by Juan Jos L pez and seconded by Shwaw Vang that two students be granted diplomas of graduation based on completed requirements. Motion unanimously carried by those present.

C Old and New Business

Mr. Clingan wanted to make sure there is follow-up on the gender identity/expression additions to the nondiscrimination policy and how they are put into practice, school by school.

Mr. L pez reiterated that further training of the security guards be instituted to minimize the impact of the kind of incidents that are occurring.

Carol Carstensen announced the unveiling of a new book written by Bob Humke on the history of MSCR entitled Mad About Play. A book signing would be held on February 10.

Shwaw Vang invited people to visit an exhibit at the Madison Children's Museum on "Hmong at Heart." He was impressed with the details of the history of the Hmong people and the authenticity and level of sensitivity placed on this exhibit.

Carol Carstensen noted that two former Board members, Anne Arneson and Nan Brien, have retired from the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families. A celebration was held last Friday with a tremendous outpouring of the community in terms of affection, respect and gratitude for the kinds of services they have provided for the district and for the state.


It was moved by Juan Jos L pez and seconded by Shwaw Vang to adjourn the meeting at 9:36 p.m. Motion unanimously carried by those present.

Respectfully submitted,

Roger Price

Secretary to the Board of Education