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MMSD releases 2020-21 budget proposal, 2% staff wage increase included

MMSD explained that prior to COVID-19, they were facing a “difficult budget year.”
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Published: Oct. 23, 2020 at 3:24 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Madison Metropolitan School District released its 2020-21 budget proposal Friday, which includes an average 2% increase in compensation for staff.

The district noted that this increase is a step above the current rate of inflation. The total increase would rise to 2.5% if a referendum passes in November, according to a news release.

MMSD explained that prior to COVID-19, they were facing a “difficult budget year.” Revenue limits from the state were not keeping pace with inflation, which resulted in an $8 million revenue shortfall in January.

“I want to commend the MMSD Board for their courage and leadership in making incredibly difficult decisions during these uncertain times,” Superintendent Dr. Carlton De Jenkins said. "

To close the 2020 revenue gap, the June budget vote included some “difficult decisions” that have already been implemented, including closing 60 FTE staff positions, making changes to employee health plans and reducing their overall spending and district-wide costs. The changes saved the district a total of $8 million.

The district continued, saying some notable provisions in the budget include focusing on literacy and the science of reading, implementing a full day 4k pilot and providing mental health support.

MMSD will be presenting two versions of the budget to the board this year due to the impact of the proposed referendum will have on the 2020-21 budget. Each budget will reflect a different outcome of the proposed referendum.

The district collected input from staff, parents and the community over the course of several months to make budgetary decisions. De Jenkins said the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to challenge school districts across the country, but MMSD has become a “leader for Wisconsin” in their response.

"As a result of their strong fiscal leadership and student centered approach, this budget reflects our commitment to the health, safety and academic acceleration for our youth as we plan to emerge from this pandemic stronger,” he added.

The district noted that overall, the budget was built around putting students first, while implementing strategies to face future challenges.

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