The Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) Board of Education voted to approve the district’s budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year at a meeting Monday night.
All budget resolutions passed unanimously, setting the MMSD budget for the next fiscal year at $763 million, including outreach initiatives, pay raises for tradespeople and a property tax increase. The 2023-24 budget marks a $10 million decrease from the previous year.
The board also approved $117,000 in additional funding for Operation Fresh Start (OFS), a nonprofit that works with at-risk MMSD students to provide them with the skills necessary to graduate.
Chell Parkins, a community member, said at the board meeting Monday the program has helped her son Elio become engaged in school and made a positive difference in his life.
“If Elio hadn’t gotten into OFS, I don’t believe he would be in school at all,” Parkins said. “Perhaps he wouldn’t be at home with me, and perhaps he would not be alive.”
Greg Jones, president of the local NAACP branch, spoke at the meeting in favor of community collaboration for disadvantaged students. According to a 2018 study from the American Institutes for Research, outreach programs like OFS are correlated with improved educational and economic outcomes for Black students.
“I identified the resources in this community as options and opportunities for our students,” Jones said. “The incoming superintendent needs to understand the impact of poverty on learning. We challenge you all to build that profile tonight.”
Additionally, the budget approved a provision to create an 8% wage adjustment for all employees of the district. The board also passed a $5 per hour raise for tradespeople and custodial workers.
“There are roughly 1,000 hourly employees throughout the district, all of whom have received a raise except the 24 tradespeople,” MMSD electrician Kurt Engel said in support of the raise. “We are simply asking for fiscal responsibility and equality that will ultimately save the district money.”
The board also approved a tax levy of over $380 million, an increase of more than $18,000 from the prior fiscal year funded by a 5% property tax rate increase for Madison residents.