CAST Defends Public Education,
2011 (pdf of statement
For the last five years Community and
Schools Together (CAST) has worked hard to assure that students in
Madison and around the state have access to excellent educational
opportunities . With you, we have been amazed by the events at the
Capitol this week. The massive outcry is justified . The radical changes
contained in Governor Walker's so-called budget repair bill will harm
education and the future of our state.
CAST on the MMSD
Budget -- July, 2009
The bill takes several
unnecessary steps, such as limiting a union's ability to collect
dues. These steps have no relevance to budget repair, but are
instead about damaging union effectiveness.
education work relies on trust and partnership. Despite
Wisconsin's strong record on public education and despite all the
benefits our communities receive from public education, Gov. Walker has
decided to break trust and partnership with WEAC and other unions.
In so doing, he has unnecessarily broken the state's relationship with
teachers. The outcry has been mobilized by the broad assaults to
organized labor, but they are marked most visibly by the many teachers,
parents, and students who have provided the core and bulk numbers to the
We support the protests and are against the
bill. The bill damages our ability as a community to improve our
schools. The bill takes an existing, deficient educational policy
regarding school funding, leaving caps and constraints on school boards
to raise revenues locally, but denies collective bargaining - one of the
key measures that was needed to form the original policy. We
believe the net effect is extremely damaging to education - destroying a
climate of trust and good will that has served as a cornerstone of the
bargaining process. We may pay less in taxes, but teachers,
classrooms and students will suffer.
Quality teachers are
essential to quality education, removing their right to bargain
collectively demonstrates great disrespect for their contributions and
will make it more difficult to attract and retain the quality teachers
our children need.
CAST, instead, welcomes reasonable and
rational debate on educational funding and policy. We believe that
policy should allow collective bargaining, equity, and the opportunity
for community involvement to answer critical funding needs schools may
have - given the likelihood that the state is unable to fund them
CAST also calls for the safety of
protesters and for those working to protect public safety at the
Capitol. We ask Governor Walker and others responsible for state
leadership to open debate, to seek to find rational budget policies that
best represent the communities they serve. We look forward to our
teachers and students returning to the classrooms, where together they
create the foundation for Wisconsin’s future.
referendum approved overwhelmingly byMadison
District voters in November
2008 was based on a “Partnership Plan” that promised to maintain
educational quality, initiate
a community-wide strategic planning process, and mitigate the
impact on property tax-payers in a variety of ways.
While the school district remains committed to the
principles of this Partnership Plan, with the uncertain economy many things have
changed since November.
Most significantly, the recently enacted
state budget has left MMSD facing what now looks like a $9 million
reduction in state aid as well as requiring an almost $3 million
reduction in expenditures for the 2009-10 school year.
As the MMSD Board of Education seeks ways to address the
shortfalls created by the state budget, Community and Schools Together (CAST)
believes it is important that the community recognize that this problem
was created by state officials, not local decisions. The reductions in revenues and
in funding for targeted programs (via categorical aids) will impact
every district in the state.
Madison is one of about 100 districts
that have had their general state aid cut by 15%, but almost all
districts are experiencing significant reductions in state support and
will be contemplating higher than anticipated property tax
These cuts come after 16 years of inadequate
funding, annual cuts in most
districts as well as reductions of the state’s portion of education
costs in recent years. This
recent state budget moves us further away from the
sustainable, equitable and
adequate educational investments that are needed to keep Madison and Wisconsin strong and
It is also important that the community understand that
the tax and revenue projections in the Partnership Plan and those used
in the preliminary district budget passed in May were good projections
made in good faith based on the best available information. That
preliminary budget strengthened education and held property tax mil rate
increase to 1˘ (far below the 11˘ increase anticipated prior to the
In the coming months the Board of Education must find ways
to meet the shortfalls created by the state budget. There are
no good choices.
These choices involve some combination re-budgeting and
re-allocating, potential new
cuts, use of the district’s
recently growing fund balance, temporarily employing targeted stimulus
monies, or increasing the
local tax levy. CAST urges
the Board to retain their commitment to quality education and community
involvement. We also ask
the community to take advantage of opportunities to let all our state
and local elected officials know that Madison values
Community and Schools Together (CAST) is a grass roots
organization dedicated to securing sustainable, adequate and equitable public education
investments in Madison and Wisconsin.
for a PDF version of this
Building on Victory - Next for
Join with CAST to raise school finance
reform to top of the agenda!
The referendum passed - thanks to all for your support and hard work!
Now it's time to turn our energy to school finance reform!
Without changes in the way Wisconsin finances schools, Madison and
other districts will face a future of continued budget cuts and divisive
referendum battles. Our local state legislators supported the referendum
and support fair funding for schools. We need them to put school finance
reform on the top of their agenda for the next state budget.
Please join CAST on Wednesday, Dec. 3rd 6:30pm at Hawthorne Library
and help plan an event at the State Capitol in early January to meet our
legislators and ask for their leadership.
Let's plan a creative and constructive action that involves
everybody-- kids, parents, educators, grandparents. Bring your ideas!
Hawthorne Library is located at 2707 E. Washington Ave., 246-4548,
See for this link
If you have questions or cannot join us on Dec. 3rd, but have an idea
or want to be part of the event in January, please contact Jill Jacklitz
Community and Schools Together
"Landslide," -- Thank You and
voters of Madison turned out in overwhelming numbers to demonstrate
their support for quality public schools. We are a community that
The Capital Times declares "Madison
school referendum passes in landslide." The Wisconsin
State Journal reports "Madison schools referendum passes by wide
margin." Full election results can be found on the County
Thank you to all who worked hard on the
campaign, supported the
referendum and voted to keep our schools and community
Passing this referendum was essential, but the work goes on. Continued engagement
with our schools and our district will make the
Partnership Plan a reality and help make our schools even
The way Wisconsin funds education is still
broken. As a partner in the Wisconsin
Alliance for Excellent Schools, CAST will be working hard to fix this, to make sure that
the resources are there to provide every child in Wisconsin
the education they need and deserve.
the web site is an up-to-date Endorsement
Page, including a letter signed by 49 local elected
Press/Media Page has also been updated, with videos, a radio
interview, many editorials and opinion pieces, more do-it-yourself
Advocacy material, and all the latest news reports.
Check out the district referendum
ballot language can be found here; for voting information visit the
Dane County League of Women
Voters site .
More updates coming soon.
The Capital Times says "Vote 'yes'
The lead editorial in the
October 23, 2008 issue of the Capital Times makes a strong case
for voting yes on the school referendum, supporting our schools as an
obligation to our children and their futures, and fixing the broken
state school finance system. Here is an excerpt:
The bottom line is always
the same: doing right by the coming generation.
But the reality is not as
simple as that.
This is not a moment at
which to be satisfied with schools that do well by American
That coming generation of
which we speak will have to compete in a global economy where it will
not matter whether schools in Wisconsin are superior to those in
Indiana. What will matter is that young people educated in Madison are
prepared to hold there own against young people educated in London,
Frankfurt, Delhi and Shanghai.
And the only way that
will happen is if the Madison Metropolitan School District has the
resources required not merely to maintain but to expand upon its current
Thanks to great teachers,
engaged parents, serious students and generous local taxpayers, MMSD
ranks ahead of most urban school districts in the nation. Even in times
of painfully cutting, quality has, for the most part, been
But there is no resting
on laurels in this contest.
Heading toward the
2009-2010 school year, MMSD faces the threat of an $8.1 million deficit.
Additional deficits of $4.4 million in 2010-2011 and $4.3 million in
2011-12 are projected.
The deficit is not the
fault of the school district's administrators. The state of Wisconsin
continues to impose dysfunctional structural controls on how districts
manage their finances, while at the same time failing to meet promises
to provide adequate funding for education of students with special needs
and other required programs...
The only vote that makes sense is
It is essential for everyone who is heading to the
polls on Nov. 4 to decide the presidential race between two men who say
education is a priority -- as well as every voter who casts an early
ballot -- and to make the extra effort to find the referendum question
and mark that "yes" box.
State Journal Says "Vote
In a October 19, 2008
lead editorial, the Wisconsin State Journal urges
voters to approve the November 4 school referendum. Here
is an excerpt:
Making the Madison School District's job even
harder are state laws that essentially require districts to spend at a
faster rate than they are allowed to collect revenue. To balance its
books, the Madison district has to trim programs and personnel each
year. Or it can go to referendum to ask voters for more money.
For years, trimming fat in the school budget was a
good exercise for the Madison district. But after more than a decade of
dealing with a state-created budget gap, the district is nearing a
Without the Nov. 4 referendum, direct and core
services for school children will suffer.
Madison should vote "yes" on Nov.
About Community and Schools Together,
Welcome to the
Community and Schools Together, or CAST, website. CAST is a grass roots
organization of parents, educators, and community members. We at CAST are
dedicated to educating the citizens of Madison about school funding referenda
in the Madison Metropolitan School District. We welcome your ideas and
involvement as we strive for the successful passage of school funding
CAST urges you as a taxpayer to educate yourself on the
issues and challenges facing our public schools. We want to provide you with
information from sources throughout the community and state so that you can
better understand the needs of our schools.
If you believe in
quality public schools for all as an integral part of our democracy, join us
in working to assure our schools have adequate resources. We look forward to
sharing a positive message about the future of the MMSD.