MMSD and MTI Statement on the Joint Finance Committee’s K-12 Funding PositionNews June 4th, 2021
June 6, 2020
The Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) and Madison Teachers Inc (MTI) are driven by the vision “Every school will be a thriving school that prepares all students to graduate ready for college, career and community.” The budget passed Thursday, May 27, 2021, by the Joint Finance Committee (JFC), however, would serve as an obstacle to this vision. In fact, the JFC’s budget, as passed, would have detrimental, inequitable, and negative impacts on MMSD, our community, and public education in Wisconsin for years to come.
The JFC passed a $0 per student increase on K-12 funding for the 2021-2023 Biennium State Budget. This comes at a time when schools across Wisconsin continue to face unprecedented challenges to support students and families as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Public school districts can not continue to operate using the same amount of funding without taking into account rising costs and the multiple impacts of a global health pandemic.
Furthermore, our community should not expect one-time funding from the federal government (such as ESSER) to replace the state’s commitment to fund our schools. Once federal funding expires, the strategy proposed by the JFC will, unfortunately, lead to major budget cuts in the future. With the passing of this policy, the MMSD community could face up to a $3 million reduction in our budget estimates.
As we’ve seen throughout the pandemic, our schools are more than learning environments for our students. In fact, we have been providing families with much-needed wrap-around services. A $0 increase would hamper MMSD’s ability to provide instructional and other family services not only this coming school year, but will cause pain to our most vulnerable students and families every year moving forward.
It is disheartening to know it is our students, especially those from our most historically marginalized communities, who will bear the brunt of this policy. The JFC strategy will impact all students; however, most impacted will be students who are from economically disadvantaged families, needing special education services, and from communities of color. Students and families have endured a disproportionate amount of suffering throughout the COVID-19 pandemic due to structural racism and prejudice. We ask the JFC to reconsider their position and do what’s right for the children and families of Wisconsin.
Carlton D. Jenkins, Ph.D.
Madison Metropolitan School District
Madison Teachers Inc