MMSD looks for input on positive branding - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

MMSD looks for input on positive branding

MADISON (WKOW) -- A hard copy of the monthly school news letter is becoming less common these days. That's one reason why Madison School leaders say they need to change with the times, and find new ways to communicate with parents and community members.

Monday evening, the public sounded off on a new approach as brainstorming took center stage.

Last year, a strategic planning committee told the board, the district needed to revamp its marketing and communications. Money has been set aside to do just that, despite a projected $30 million budget shortfall for the coming school year.

"It's all about putting the right message together so the public understands what we're going to do for children," says Superintendent Dan Nerad.

About 35 community members met with school leaders at Marquette-O'Keeffe Schools.

Laurel Cavalluzzo was among them. She has two children attending Madison Public Schools and another waiting in the ranks.

"I'm very interested in communications, that's actually what I do for a my livelihood," says Laurel.

Right now, Laurel says she keeps updated by visiting the district's Web site and messages through her children's school.

From a professional and personal standpoint, Laurel believes the $40,000 dollars, the board has earmarked for this undertaking, is more than reasonable.

"A lot of people would actually argue $40,000 isn't enough money to get a communications plan in place," she says.

"I think it is worth $40,000," says Nancy Peterson, an education major at the UW.

"I think it's important, as a future educator, hopefully in this (Madison) district, to be informed about what issues are going on," adds Nancy, originally from Waupaca.

Currently, the district posts plenty of information online, a monthly news letter and video of school-related interest. However, Superintendent Nerad says social media, like Facebook and Twitter, present new means of keeping everyone in-the-loop.

"If people in the community want to help us by offering pro-bono services or helping us with ideas, we can help mitigate the cost of a plan like this, we're very open to that," Nerad adds.

Nerad says open enrollment also weighs into the new plan. He says, these days, school are essentially competing with other districts to attract and retain students, so that's definitely a motivating factor.

The $40,000 budget for a new communications/marketing plan is for one year only. Any additional money would need board approval in coming years.

Nerad says the district will use feedback from Monday's meeting to move forward, however, he says there's currently no timeline.

Online reporting by Brock Bergey

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