Dear MMSD Community,
I hope you are finding ways to stay cool this week and that you are able to enjoy some time with loved ones safely, perhaps grilling outdoors or spreading out a blanket for a picnic at home. Please do heed health officials' advice to stay home and scale back festivities, with positive COVID-19 cases climbing locally and across the country.
This week we have just a few short updates for you. Originally our hope was to have a questionnaire and more details about re-opening schools ready for you this week. Given the holiday weekend and so many details still unknown, we felt it would be better to move this to next week.
As a point of correction, we told you last week that we were anticipating further school-specific guidance to be released by Madison & Dane County Public Health on July 6. Since then, we've received clarification that we'll receive it sometime on or after that date. As well, you may have heard that yesterday Public Health issued an updated emergency order for Dane County reinstating some of their earlier restrictions.
All of this points back to our need to be nimble, flexible and responsive in our planning, as the situation develops and health guidance shifts. This is why our planning includes preparing our district for multiple scenarios - all virtual, all in-person and a hybrid model. Your input next week will be invaluable in helping us to continue to develop plans for each scenario.
Lastly, for those who celebrate Independence Day on July 4th, I wish you a happy and healthy holiday. I also want to acknowledge that the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence does not represent freedom for everyone in our nation. Especially for those of us who love this country and have benefited from its history, there is no better time to explore this truth than now. I hope you will join me in doing so. Here's one place to start.
Have a safe and healthy weekend,
Meet our superintendent finalists: view their live community sessions
Many of you had the opportunity to virtually meet our two superintendent finalists this week during our community sessions hosted on Facebook Live. If you missed it, both videos are still available by following the links below. Learn more about our finalists and the process for hiring, visit this page on our website.
Urgent feedback deadline: We know it's a tight deadline, but the board has asked for feedback from those who watched the live (or recorded) sessions by today (Thursday) at 11 a.m. so they can move forward with a decision as soon as possible. Do you have any last-minute feedback? Go to mmsd.org/jenkins for Dr. Jenkins and mmsd.org/kelley for Dr. Kelley.
2020 Future Ready Referenda
Dear MMSD Community,
As you may recall, last fall and winter we wrapped up a series of focus groups, surveys, and community input sessions that started a few years ago to explore the idea of putting an operating referendum and a facilities referendum on the November 2020 ballot.
We received a comprehensive report in January that reflected broad support for both, and according to our original timeline, we were set to vote on whether to go to referenda in March. Then, COVID-19 happened. We hit the pause button in order to focus district resources on supporting students through school closures.
We also knew it would be important to learn if attitudes had shifted in light of this crisis, knowing that many are struggling through economically uncertain times. So we have waited in order to be cautious. We also recently commissioned a third-party poll in the community to get an accurate picture of current feelings about potential 2020 Future Ready Referenda. What we learned is that our community's appetite for referenda hasn't lessened in the wake of the health crisis we are going through. It may have even increased.
This is truly an unprecedented time we are living through. A pandemic. A nascent awakening on systemic racism. Removing School Resource Officers. Budget cuts. Planning efforts to re-open our schools. Hiring a new superintendent. It almost seems unreal. And our job, as a school board, in calm times and in uncertain times, is to do what we believe is in the best interest of our students. In this case, we also have data telling us that our community is also open to this.
Adding to the urgency we feel in supporting our students is the fact that the state may be planning drastic budget cuts to K-12 public education. We are being told to plan for unprecedented budget reductions-estimated to be in the range of $3M to $9M for the 2020-21 school year on top of the $8M in reductions already reflected in our budget. Revenues for 21-22 and 22-23 are also unclear, and we are projecting $30M to $40M budget reductions over the next four years.
August is our last opportunity to put referenda questions on the ballot. Yet we feel that we have learned a great deal over the last several months - enough to tell us that we don't need to wait another month. So on July 13, we will be voting on whether to go to referenda in November. Should we vote in favor, this gives us a couple of months to provide the community with the information needed to make an informed decision.
Please stay posted for the results of the Board action in July, and the updated information that will follow. We know that our community's need for strong public schools is more important than ever. If you want to get more involved, please reach out to Melinda Heinritz at the Foundation for Madison's Public Schools at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Board of Education President
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Make sure to follow your school on social media so you don't miss the great things they're posting throughout the summer!
2020 Summer Food Program
The MMSD Summer Food Program provides free, nutritious meals during summer vacation. Children can eat breakfast, lunch and snack for free Monday - Friday starting June 22nd. Meals vary by location, and no application is required. All sites will be closed on Friday, July 3rd. All children 18 years of age and under can receive up to two free meals per site.
We will be following best practices for social distancing at all our sites. Meals can be picked up by parents and/or students to take off site with them. No meals will be eaten on site. Breakfast and lunch will be provided at the same time. You can find more information online using the summer meals map, call 2-1-1, or text 'food' to 877-877.
11:00 - 11:30
11:45 - 12:15
Lake View Elementary
Badger Rock Middle
12:30 - 1:00
1:15 - 1:45
Serving times will vary per site.
Allied Learning Center
Elver Park Neighborhood Center
Boys & Girls club Allied
Boys & Girls Club Taft