Category: Recent News

Coronavirus COVID-19

Image courtesy of Life Science.

Online Resources

MMSD COVID-19 UpdatesDane County Public Health
Gov. Evers’ COVID-19 website
CDC: Ways to manage stress & anxiety
MTI Virtual Learning FAQ
DPI School Closures FAQUS Dept of Ed – Impact of COVID on Testing/Accountability
Apply for Unemployment
Unemployment FAQHelp your community in this time of need. Volunteer safely at
Dane County Job CenterCall 2-1-1 for assistanceAFL-CIO Survival Guide to Unemployment
3.27.2020 MMSD Frequently Asked Questions 3.30.2020 DPI Implementing Educator Effectiveness for 2019-20 Unemployment Benefits for School Year Employees

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

On March 27, the $2-trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law. The bill is a good start and, while not perfect, does address many needs of our students, educators, and schools. It is intended to help stabilize workers, families, and the economy during the COVID-19 public health crisis and is the third relief package Congress has passed during the coronavirus pandemic. The National Education Association (NEA) is also advocating for additional stimulus funds in a fourth package.

CARES Act – One Time Payment FAQCARES Act – Student Loans FAQ
CARES Act – Student Loans Webinar
CARES Act – Unemployment Insurance FAQ
CARES Act – ESSA Waivers FAQ

3.26.2020 Families First Coronavirus Response Act – New Leave of Absence & Pay Options for MMSD Employees

Online Learning

WEAC – Best Practices for Educators in an Online WorldWEAC – Selfcare for Educators Working at Home
April 3, 2020: Watch a brief video update from MTI.
Read MTI’s press release regarding the March 18 donation towards the COVID-19 Emergency Fund

Make an online donation to support the Dane County COVID-19 Emergency Fund. The Fund is administered through the United Way of Dane County and the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County.

Friday Updates

Contacting MTI during School Closures

In order to help us expedite the high volume of questions while working remotely, we encourage MTI members to:

  1. Visit the online resources listed on MTI’s website, which includes reviewing the Frequently Asked Questions document which will be regularly updated.
  2. If you still have questions/concerns, send them to MTI staff and leadership at
  3. For urgent matters, contact MTI directly at (608) 257-0491 for assistance.
  4. While MTI Offices will be closed to members and visitors for the foreseeable future, we are committed to continue to provide members with the advocacy and support they deserve. 

Solidarity Fund Loan Available for Members

While we await District assurance on employee compensation in the event of school closures, and while we await a needed response from our state and federal government, MTI has taken immediate action to deploy union resources to provide financial support to members impacted by the pandemic. Commencing immediately, the MTI Solidarity Fund is available to provide no interest loans of up to $1,000 for MTI members who suffer a financial impact due to the pandemic.

To honor social distancing, we encourage members to complete the application form online and email it to Download the application form in Microsoft Word format.

MMSD Staff Compensation Concerns & Unemployment Information for unpaid members

Unemployment COVID-19 Resources for unpaid members

Question: What happens if the school I work at shuts down for coronavirus. Will I be eligible?

Answer: If this closure is not during a customary break period, or extends longer than the customary break period, individuals may be eligible for unemployment benefits if they meet the monetary and weekly eligibility criteria.

If members have Unemployment questions after reviewing these sites. Contact MTI staff.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020 Update

All MMSD schools are closed through at least April 24. Governor Evers has closed schools for the duration of the pandemic (i.e. until further notice).

Monday, March 16, 2020 Update

We received notice from the District that all employees will be paid during the school closure except substitutes not in extended long term assignments. Notice will be sent to all employees by the District.This is good news for many employees and the result of our collective advocacy. We will continue to work to resolve payment for substitutes. MMSD COVID-19 Compensation Chart

Sunday, March 15, 2020 Update

Today, our union’s leadership sent a message to the Madison Board of Education regarding compensation for ALL employees. Read the full statement below. We will update you once we receive a response.

Dear MMSD Board of Education and Administration,

We are writing to you on behalf of the 3,000 employees represented by MTI. We ask that you commit to continuing compensation for all employees of the district using the existing pay schedule and structures. These are challenging times and your employees need the support of their employer as they work to meet the needs of their students and families.

This is a critical issue for all employees, but especially for our hourly staff and substitutes. Hourly staff are vulnerable to disruptions in school schedules and face financial hardship when schools are closed. Substitutes rely on daily assignments for their income. Many substitutes have jobs already scheduled during the times that schools will be closed and have planned for that income.

Having a guarantee that compensation will continue provides some stability for employees who are working to support the students and families of Madison’s public schools. We have a staffing crisis in our schools and need to commit to retaining our excellent staff.

MTI leadership is prepared to meet and confer with you on this issue immediately.

In Solidarity,

MTI Board of Directors
ESEA-MTI Board of Directors
USO-MTI Board of Directors

MTI Requests Modification of Employee Handbook to Ensure no Loss of pay in the event of School Closures
On March 11, MTI sent a letter to the Interim Superintendent Belmore and members of the Board of Education requesting the District modify the Employee Handbook immediately so that no staff lose compensation should schools close due to coronavirus, COVID-19. While we are not aware of any imminent plans to close schools in Madison, this action is being taken in preparation for such considerations. We will keep you posted on this important issue moving forward.
To: Interim Superintendent Belmore & Members of the Board of Education

We are aware that the District has a group actively working on plans to respond to the coronavirus. The District has recently invited MTI staff to join this work group and we look forward to participating in this important work. It is our hope and expectation that the District is prepared to take whatever prudent action is suggested by public health officials to mitigate the impact of the virus on our students, staff, and community.
That said, today we are requesting that the District modify the MMSD Employee Handbook effective immediately to ensure that no MMSD employee loses compensation should schools be closed for any reason. This is an issue MTI has been pursuing for some time but the urgency has escalated with the current risks associated with the coronavirus. Last year, the MMSD experienced multiple school days closed due to weather and this year we see the very real possibility of more extensive schools closures due to the coronavirus. This has made the issue of guaranteeing continued compensation for school staff all the more pressing. Any loss of pay during school closures will encourage employee exodus and complicate an already acute staffing crisis in the MMSD.
Again, we look forward in joining the Districts work group tackling this issue but wanted to get this critical issue on your agenda now.
Douglas Keillor
Executive Director
Madison Teachers Inc.

Obtain your Absentee Ballot

In order to honor the Dane county Public Health guidelines for social distancing, we encourage voters to obtain an absentee ballot online.

April 7, 2020 Spring General Election MTI-Voters endorsed candidates:

Jill Karofsky for Wisconsin Supreme Court, Savion Castro for BOE Seat 2,
Maia Pearson for BOE Seat 6, and Nicki Vander Meulen for BOE Seat 7.

Complimentary Financial Consultations Available with WEA Member Benefits May 28, June 3 & 5

We know during uncertain times you may have questions about your financial future. Steve Pike (retired teacher and current WEA Member Benefits Consultant) is available for a complimentary 60-minute financial consultation. These virtual consultations will be held over the phone at a time that’s convenient for you.  Steve can provide general retirement planning guidance whether you are just starting out, nearing retirement, or anywhere in between. Visit to sign up for a complimentary consultation with Steve.

Sign up here:

Sign up for sessions on May 28, June 3 or June 5

COVID-19 Unemployment Compensation

Apply for Unemployment Benefits. FAQ on Unemployment Benefits.
AFL-CIO Unemployment Survival GuideUnion Plus Member Resources Responding to COVID-19
MMSD COVID-19 UpdatesWays to manage stress & anxiety
Apply for a Solidarity Loan United Way of Dane County Resources
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act

If members have Unemployment questions after reviewing these sites. Contact MTI staff.

Visit MTI’s COVID-19 page for more details.

4.10.2020: MTI Board of Directors Requests BOE Secure a High-Quality Superintendent Replacement ASAP

April 10, 2020

Members of the MMSD Board of Education,

We were surprised to hear that Dr. Gutierrez decided to rescind his acceptance of the MMSD position. We can respect his decision to stay in his current district given the drastic change in conditions over the past few months. We also know that this decision has a significant impact on the staff, students, and families of MMSD. 

The MTI Board of Directors believes that the MMSD Board of Education should work to find a high-quality replacement as quickly as possible. We understand that there will need to be an interim superintendent and want clarity around who will fill that position immediately. However, there are too many critical issues facing our schools, staff, students, and community for us to have another year without a permanent leader in place. While it is difficult to predict what the future holds and what the new “normal” will be, we know that our public schools will be a critical part of the recovery efforts in Madison. A permanent superintendent is necessary for that work to move forward effectively.

We believe that the district should reopen the search and not offer either of the two finalists from the earlier search the position. The focus of the new search should be on candidates who understand our community and who have connections locally. The Madison community is going through a traumatic experience that is impacting all areas of our lives. We need someone who knows Madison and who believes in the staff who work so hard for all of our students.  

Last spring, we shared our members’ feedback around the key characteristics they wanted in a new superintendent. These still hold true and in many ways are more important as we work to recover from the pandemic. Our members said a superintendent: 

•    Needs to advance the work around racial equity and maintain high expectations for everyone who works and learns in our schools
•    Needs to make staff feel respected and supported
•    Needs to be present in the schools on a regular basis
•    Needs to be committed to shared leadership and meaningful collaboration with staff
•    Needs to be transparent in decision making
•    Needs to propose fewer initiatives and top-down mandates
•    Needs to have a strategic plan to build trust in our community overall, with a specific focus on trust between educators and administration

We are happy to continue this conversation with you and look forward to continuing to collaborate as we serve the students and families of the Madison public schools.

In Solidarity,

MTI Board of Directors

To be rescheduled – April 19: Bowl-A-Thon

MTI Cares, the community outreach committee for Madison Teachers Inc., is partnering with the Food 4 Thought Initiative (Food4TI) for our 7th Annual Bowl-a-Thon (and Silent Auction).

The event takes place on Sunday, April 19, 2020 from 12-3 PM at Village Lanes in Monona (208 Owen Rd.).

Food4TI currently supports food pantries at five Madison schools and needs support to keep them stocked!.  Food4TI also runs “Thea’s Table” a weekend based food program that works with MMSD school social workers to help provide weekend meals for homeless or at risk families; currently serving over 50 families in need.  As education professionals we encounter this need in our schools every day and are excited to partner with Food4TI to help address this problem.

All proceeds go to the Food for Thought Initiative (Food4TI) for operating and program costs. View Food4TI’s website at:

Register your team for the 7th annual MTI Cares Bowl-A-Thon to benefit Madison’s Food for Thought Initiative to improve food access and alleviate hunger among Madison area school students and their families.

The cost to participate is $6.00 per bowler and will cover three games and shoes.

Each team must have a minimum of three (3) bowlers to reserve a lane (max. 6). MTI Cares encourages each team to set a fundraising goal of $20 per bowler. There will also be a silent auction again this year for friends or family members who do not wish to bowl.

For additional information, see

Work on the 2020 presidential election

Do you want to work on the 2020 presidential election? Are you looking for an opportunity to launch your career in politics?

Organizing Corps 2020 provides paid training programs to give you the skills needed to work on a presidential campaign, and they are headed to Wisconsin this spring. Organizing Corps is the best onramp to a full-time, paid position on the presidential campaign through November 3, 2020.

Working on a campaign is a great way to develop communication, leadership, and management skills; grow a powerful network; and build impressive experience to put on your resume. And by working for the Democrats, you’ll be part of the team that is going to win against Donald Trump. Here are their upcoming training programs in Wisconsin:

Immersion: April 27-May 31, 2020

5-week, hands-on training offered in Madison & Milwaukee

$15/hour, 40 hours/week | Additional gas stipends available

Application Deadline: March 4th

After the training, Organizing Corps will help you get hired by the presidential campaign as a full-time, paid organizer beginning in June and through November of 2020. 

The OC2020 application can be found at can also learn more by finding @orgcorps2020 on social media. Please contact Maya Ruíz at with any questions about the program or application. Apply today and share this opportunity with your networks!