Madison School Board to adopt 2 different budgets for 2020-21 ahead of referendums

That would result in the owner of an average-value home paying $54 less in property taxes to the district.

While Madison had a total budget of $479.3 million for last school year, actual spending came in $18.7 million below what was anticipated.

Ruppel said that was the result of several cost-saving strategies, such as canceling contracts, renegotiating others, putting a freeze on administrative office hires and school buildings being closed due to the pandemic.

Spending proposals

Both budgets would continue to fund the district’s “strategic equity projects,” but passing referendums could speed or further fund district initiatives and programs.

“Regardless of the difficult budget year we have, we put our strategic equity projects first and look at what we need to cut second to make sure the equity projects are funded first,” Ruppel said.

Under the budget that assumes the referendums pass, the district’s Black Excellence Coalition Community Fund would increase by $100,000 to $450,000. Funding would remain at $350,000 without the referendums.

The operating referendum would also expedite the rollout of a new elementary reading curriculum with a heavier focus on phonics instruction.

That budget sets aside $1 million to purchase instructional reading materials this year and puts $450,000 toward training teachers on early literacy. If the referendums fail, the budget would commit $400,000 to purchasing reading materials this year, with the remaining $600,000 likely to be funded in 2021-22.

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