Low Turnout for MMSD Public Hearing

By: NBC 15
By: NBC 15

Madison School Board members listened to community concerns Wednesday night over possible cuts to district programs.

Those cuts could be avoided with the passage of a May referendum.

A little more than a dozen people turned out to a public hearing to discuss overcrowding and budget issues.

The district is asking taxpayers for more money in its maintenance fund, a new school on the Leopold Elementary grounds, and may also ask voters for millions of dollars to balance the budget.

Without the additional money, the district says it's more than $8 million short for next year. And that could force student activities and more than 90 teaching positions to be cut.

Reaction was mixed.

"It is important to remember this board represents the public, to serve the children and the community with responsibility and accountability," says Don Severson, president of Active Citizens for Education.

"If we don't get an operations referendum there is no sense in building a new school because there won't be anyone to take care of it,” says Pat Smith, president of Local 60 and a custodian.

"My background is to support a strong public education so my intention is to support these referendums. But I am looking for clarification of priorities," says Barbara Schrank, a parent and fine arts supporter.

Members will vote whether to include the operating budget on the May ballot, and the final language for all three referendums at the end of the month.

Another public hearing is set for Monday at 7 p.m. at the Doyle Administration Building.

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