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Madison schools to ask $41 million referendum question

Madison schools to ask $41 million referendum question

The Madison Metropolitan School District will ask voters for $41 million school facilities referendum in April.

A school district official said the school board finalized a project list involving 16 schools during a Monday meeting.

If approved, the money would be used to improve accessibility in 10 schools, add classroom space to five schools and renovate four schools in need of upgrades.

The biggest projects include $8 million in renovations at Jefferson Middle School and $4 million to redo the theater at East High School.

If approved, taxpayers owning an average $237,000 home would pay an additional $62.95 a year in property taxes for 10 years.

"If we can get these addressed not only will we create stronger schools and learning environments for our students, but we will set ourselves up for some long-term facilities planning that will really help bring our vision as a school district to life," MMSD Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham said.

$78K in grant funding goes toward creative, innovative projects

$78K in grant funding goes toward creative, innovative projects

Grant funding to support creative and innovative projects not funded within the core school budget was approved for 49 Madison schools Tuesday, according to a release.

The Foundation for Madison?s Public Schools approved $78,290 for the grants, officials said. The grants are part of the Foundation?s School Endowment initiative, which is the first of its kind in the country.

?As budgets continue to tighten, the foundation?s role and our community?s support of public education are becoming increasingly important,? FMPS Executive Director Stephanie Hayden said. ?These grants provide the tools and support to enrich education opportunities for the more than 27,000 Madison public school students.?

State’s report cards show MMSD meets expectations

State education officials say the majority of Wisconsin public schools and school districts meet or exceed expectations for student achievement.

The Madison Metropolitan School District was rated at 69.8, which is meeting expectations. That score is an improvement over last year’s score of 68.5.

While Madison remained in the bottom third of districts statewide, it moved up from 11th to eighth among districts located in cities.

“As a school district, we’ve been very focused on the school improvement process. That means tightening up the process by which we set measurable goals for them to choose a few powerful strategies for meeting those goals and then consistently monitoring them along the way so they can make adjustments,” MMSD Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham said. “We believe this is how you raise student achievement to narrow achievement gaps.”

Hippie Christmas prompts bed bug, insect discussion

Hippie Christmas prompts bed bug, insect discussion

The yearly chaos when students move out of their current apartments and into their apartments for the next year is happening in downtown Madison the next couple of days.

Leases for apartments turn over Thursday into Friday, and the massive move means Hippie Christmas on many downtown streets near campus.

Students are dumping what they don't want on the curb, which is everything from TVs and school supplies to old furniture.

Officials with the Tenant Resource Center are urging people to be mindful of bed bugs and other insects when picking up stuff off the street.

"Tenants are always very concerned they're going to be charged a thousand bucks for the heat treatment (to get rid of bed bugs)," said Anders Zanichkowsky, program director of the Tenant Resource Center. "Landlords are very concerned that if the tenant doesn't report it, it's going to spread to all their units before they even know about it."

An opportunity to talk, with an emphasis on second chances

An opportunity to talk, with an emphasis on second chances

For many people, a room filled with retired senior citizens and teenagers from all walks of life is an unfamiliar sight. The two generations rarely interact outside of family gatherings, but when they do, something special can happen.

"Dialogue Across the Ages," a program run through the Work and Learn Center on the east side of Madison, brings high school students and older adults together for four sessions in the fall semester.

The Work and Learn Center is an alternative program in the Madison Metropolitan School District for students at risk of not graduating that combines academics and vocational placement and allows the students to attain their high school diploma. Dialogue Across the Ages provides a forum at Madison’s Senior Center for these students, who have often faced many struggles early in life, and senior volunteers to simply … talk.

English program provides medical terminology lessons to non-native speakers

By Aparna Vidyasagar and Mengyuan Zhang

Guadalupe Torres is soft-spoken; her quiet, tentative, English is highlighted by a lilting Mexican accent. She appears shy, perhaps even timid. But when she last visited her doctor and her interpreter was late, she was unfazed, even eager to take on the challenge of speaking to the doctor alone. Torres was confident about navigating the health care system in the United States, all thanks to one class.

National, city, school leaders to focus on out-of-school-time programs

National, city, school leaders to focus on out-of-school-time programs

Local education groups and leaders will be holding meetings to discuss the most effective ways that Madison can help families work with providers, schools and the local government for the well-being of children, according to a release.

The city of Madison, the Madison Metropolitan School District and Madison Out-of-School Time will be hosting community conversations about family involvement with Madison's out-of-school-time programs, officials said.

Madison is one of 14 cities selected by the National League of Cities to partner with the U.S. Department of Education to hold community conversations with educators, parents and community leaders, according to the release.