MADISON (WKOW) – The Madison School Superintendent outlines his plan to help low-income and minority students succeed in the district's public schools.
The superintendent announced a $12 million proposal that focuses on everything from literacy to family involvement.
The plan comes about two months after the Madison school board voted down a charter school designed for low-achieving students.
Everyone involved agrees there is a big problem, but they do not agree on the solution.
"Every student should have a chance to grow as much as another regardless of race. From what we know today, that is not happening," said superintendent Dan Nerad.
The Urban League of Greater Madison says nearly 60 percent of African-American and 50 percent of Latino high school students have below a 2.0 GPA.
But students do not need studies to see that.
"A lot of kids are skipping and are not on track," said Ladella Martin, a senior at Memorial High School.
Nerad hopes his plan will help them.
It has six focuses with recommendations including a longer school day, more parental involvement and classes to prepare students for life after high school.
"We know we have a lot of work ahead," Nerad said. "These untenable disparities have institutional and community roots in our district. We know this. We're listening. And together with our community, we intend to change it."
Along with his preliminary plan came a preliminary budget, costing $12 million in the first year and $100 million over five years.
"It is a great idea, but where do you get the money to implement it?" asked John Matthews, executive director for Madison Teachers Inc.
Nerad suggested raising property taxes but Matthews is not sure that is enough.
"What we really need is to have the state take their hands off local school districts, cities and counties and let those governing agents take care of them," Matthews said.
"Obviously the Madison Prep discussion over the last 15 months has done a lot to spur that discussion [over the achievement gap] so we are glad the district is taking it head on," said Laura Deroche-Perez, Madison Prep director of school development.
After getting voted down in December, some still say a charter school is the answer.
"The discussion on Madison Prep in this community is far from over."
The school board still has not said whether it will vote on starting Madison Prep in 2013.
The superintendent is asking for feedback on his plan from parents in the district.
You can read the district's full plan by clicking here.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2013 WorldNow and WKOW. All Rights Reserved.
Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Program Manager Jessica Miller at 608-661-2794. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at email@example.com.