Madison Metropolitan School District unveils 2014-15 budget - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Madison Metropolitan School District unveils 2014-15 budget

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Madison (WKOW)-- A new era in Madison education history has begun, as recently hired Madison Metropolitan School District Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham unveiled her first official budget Monday night. Cheatham joined the MMSD in February of 2013 and  helped the school board draft the current year's budget, but the 2014-15 will be her first time seeing a budget through start to finish.

"I'm very confident with the changes we've made this year. They will be good for the district in the long and short term," Cheatham says.

One of the most noticeable changes is a 2.1% tax levy increase. School administrators say it's well below the full amount the levy allows. They're deciding to instead save the extra $3.95 million for next year. If it is not used next year school officials say they can save it for many years to come.

"We're trying to prevent the peaks and valleys that you sometimes see in public education funding. This will help us create a more sturdy foundation to build off of," Superintendent Cheatham says.

The Madison School Board got their first look at the 2014-15 budget during their meeting Monday night. This past Summer the board helped Cheatham and other school administrators draft a strategic plan for the district now that Cheatham has taken the helm. She says her first budget sets the tone for this strategy and helps allocate resources to make their plans a reality.

"Teachers and principals really know students best, so they should be in the drivers seat. The more flexibility and budget dollars we can provide at the school level, the better able they are to align their budgets to their strategies," Cheatham says.

The 2014-15 budget features a significant amount of personnel changes. While the district is only hiring a few new employees next year, they have re-assigned dozens of employees to different positions. Most noticeable is the proposal to move 26 administrators at the district office to schools within the district. Cheatham says this will allow them to work more closely with the students, teachers and administrators in each respective school.

"By providing resources to schools not just based on number of students enrolled, but on needs, we can solve many of the problems we've seen in our schools," Cheatham says.

"The major progress we made this year was to move Title One dollars to our neediest middle schoolers."

When Cheatham was hired for the superintendent job just over a year ago she said one of her main objectives was to close Madison's alarmingly wide achievement gap. She says her first official budget allots resources and faculty to specific initiatives that should address this issue in the long run.

"I just think it has produced a much more responsible, healthy budget that truly is aligned with our priorities for raising student achievement and closing achievement gaps," Cheatham says.

The Madison School Board will have the next few weeks to look over the budget and make recommendations. They are scheduled to release a final version of the budget on May 19th. Click here to read the current budget proposal that was released Monday morning.



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Madison (WKOW)-- Recently hired Madison Metropolitan School District Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham has unveiled her first official budget since taking over the office in February of 2013.

While she had a hand in creating the current year's budget, this is the first time she's been able to create a full budget start to finish. Cheatham says the 2014-15 budget shifts around numerous resources to better fit the school district's strategic framework.

One of the most noticeable changes is a 2.1% levy increase. School administrators say it's well below the full amount the levy allows. They're deciding to instead save the extra $3.95 million for next year.

"We're trying to prevent the peaks and valleys that you sometimes see in public education funding. This will help us create a more sturdy foundation to build off of," Superintendent Cheatham says.

The 2014-15 budget also features a significant amount of personnel changes. While the district is only hiring a few new employees next year, they have re-assigned dozens of employees to different positions. Most noticeable is the proposal to move 26 administrators at the district office to schools within the district. Cheatham says this will allow them to work more closely with the students, teachers and administrators in each respective school.

Tonight on 27 News at 5:00 and 6:00 pm, we'll go more in-depth with the budget proposal and how it will affect students and families in Madison.


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