Vol. 5    No. 6
March 25, 2010

The Capital City Hues
(608) 241-2000
gramling@capitalcityhues.com


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EDITORIAL STAFF

Jonathan Gramling
Publisher & Editor

Heidi Manabat
Managing Editor

Clarita G. Mendoza
Sales Manager

Contributing Writers
Rita Adair, Paul Barrows,
Alfonso Zepeda Capistran,
Fabu, Andrew Gramling, Lang
Kenneth Haynes, Eileen Cecille
Hocker, Heidi Pascual, Jessica
Pharm, Laura Salinger, Jessica
Strong, & Martinez White

Webmaster:
Heidi @
managing.editor@capitalcityhues.comv
  By the time you read this, many of you will be experiencing the exhilaration and demands of spring break.   It’
s always a welcome sign that spring, indeed, is here and the kids and teachers will be able to take a breather
before making that final push for the end of the school year and graduation. For some parents, it means either
taking your own time off to look after your children, scrambling around to find alternative care, taking some
time off yourself or worst case scenario, fretting everyday at work as your children spend part of their day
unsupervised.
  For many Madison parents — especially low-income parents — the latter scenario could become a reality for
most of the school year. The Madison Metropolitan School District is experiencing its biggest fiscal crisis in
years due to decreases in state school aids for Madison as it begins its final deliberations for the 2010-2011
school year. While initially considering $30 million in budget cuts — more than double what has been regularly
considered since the state revenue caps were instituted in the early 1990s — it is now looking at $17-$18
million in cuts. Now comes the really hard part.
  In the initial recommendations, it appeared that an inordinate amount of the cuts would impact efforts to
reduce the academic achievement gap and programming for low-income students and students of color. At
the present time, it isn’t clear how much of that scenario still holds true because detailed information about
what composes the $17-$18 million in items still remaining on the chopping block isn’t available.
However, it does appear that there are many after school activities remaining on the chopping block including
some Schools of Hope funds for the Urban League and Centro Hispano as well as the Urban League’s careers
program. After school programming for the Lussier Community Education Center and Goodman Community
Center and others are also at risk. Asset Builders of America’s financial literacy programming may be gone.
What also may be gone is some of the programming provided by the Madison School Community Recreation
(MSCR) program.
  It is important that the school district continue its efforts to reduce the academic achievement gap for the
long-term economic and social health of Madison as well as for the personal academic and social growth of
all of the district’s children. For that reason alone, we need to be taking a serious look at these cuts and their
impact.
  However, a more fundamental question has to be asked. What will happen to the children after school?
Back in the mid-1990s, I had the privilege to work on MMSD’s community learning center proposals that were
funded by the federal government. One of the statistics that will always stay with me is that the vast majority
of juvenile crime is committed between 3-6 p.m. when children leave school and may be unsupervised
before their parents get home at night. The CLCs were designed to engage children in meaningful educational
activities and keep them out of harm’s way.
  Well, if MMSD is forced to cut a lot of the after school programming, what will happen to the children? Who
will be supervising them then? Will it be the streets or positive adult role models? Instead of paying youth
counselors to work with the children, will higher paid members of the Madison Police Department be forced to
fill the breach as some children begin to get in trouble? Will we be a penny wise and a pound foolish? I don’t
know the answer to these questions. Have Dane County, the city of Madison, United Way, MMSD and others
jointly considered that question before significant action is taken?
  On April 6, right after spring break ends, we will have a local election. Current school board members Beth
Moss and Maya Cole will automatically be re-elected because they do not face an opponent. Tom Farley and
James Howard are competing for Seat 4 of the MMSD board. We have printed our questionnaire that we
issued for these candidates and the answers by the candidate who was able to send one back. It is important,
as much as possible, for people to become informed about this budget crisis and these candidates’ stands on
what — if anything — should be cut. An informed electorate and voters are what make our democracy strong.
Please vote on Tuesday April 6 for the MMSD school board, Appeals Court Judge and other positions up for
election. Exercise your civil rights and vote. You can’t complain later on if you didn’t take the time to vote on
April 6. VOTE! Our children and future are depending on you.
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                     Exercise your civil rights!
MARCH MADNESS
UW's Howard Moore talks about the
NCAA Tourney