The following text is what I read at the school board meeting on 02/13/2023. The portion in red is very important but I ran out time, so it didn’t get read publicly.
We’ve seen it all over town on bumper stickers, we hear it in our community, and we especially hear and see it at Madison sporting events. Madison Pride. We have many reasons to be proud of our community. We have many students that excel scholastically and athletically. The pride for our young people should be shouted from our nearby mountain tops but can we be absolutely confident that we are taking pride in ALL aspects of our school system? Madison Pride should also represent the needs of the people and infrastructure that support our students academically and athletically, too, right? There have been strides in recent years, but there are still many questions that need to be answered.
- What are we doing to retain/incentivize/recruit teaching staff that want to commit to MCPS long term?
- What are we doing to get staff licensed that are provisional?
- What are we doing to retain/incentivize/recruit support staff, such as custodians, bus drivers, cafeteria staff, and information technology?
- What are we doing to obtain/maximize grant money?
- What are we doing to keep salaries competitive?
- What are we doing to improve employee health insurance costs?
- What are we doing to catch up salaries of all staff that have remained loyal through frozen budget years?
- What are we doing to solve substitute staff shortages?
- What are we doing about rising class sizes?
- What are we doing to get teaching assistants in classrooms to support our neediest students?
- What are we doing to solve the problem with our students not taking care of their Chromebooks which is preventing them from taking them home for their studies?
- What are we doing to ensure time for extension/enrichment content for gifted students?
- What are we doing to find and fill reading specialist positions at each school?
- What are we doing to compensate custodians and non-licensed staff that are coming in on their own time?
- What are we doing to make sure there is access to the same technology in all classrooms, and not just certain classrooms?
- What are we doing to repair/improve our aging athletic facilities for all student athletes?
- Field House
- Wetsel Gym (bleachers, gym floor, scoreboard, entrance, trophy case)
- Weight room
- Improve grass surface inside track
- Baseball infield and dugouts
- What are we doing to prepare our student athletes for college athletics?
- What are we doing to support our students that are looking to get into a trade directly after high school?
- What are we doing to improve/maintain the working relationship with the BoS so we can address our needs?
- What are we doing to hear our staff’s voices? SURVEYS ARE NOT THE ANSWER
Some of these questions are referenced in the Capital Improvement Plan. The plan is over generalized and addresses, mostly, on the surface issues. Are we addressing issues that aren’t in plain sight?
This isn’t to point the finger at any of the staff in our school system. I believe that all our staff, starting at the top with Ms. Graham, do a great job with the resources that they have. I know the easy excuse is to blame funding, and part of the problem may be just that, but what are we doing to fix the funding issue if there is one? We can’t receive a reason for a problem and throw our hands up and leave it. We need to find an answer. We might not get the answer that we want, and that is fine, but we can use that answer to find a solution and move forward.
I do realize there are financial disparities between larger and smaller school districts but are we really doing the best we can to bridge the gap? Are we certain we are focused on fighting the battles that are directly in front of Madison County Public Schools?
Are we truly in tune with the needs of our superintendent and school system right now? Do we know all the struggles that our administrators, support staff, and teachers face every day? Why do our teachers have to go home at night worried and stressed about the next day, instead of feeling a sense of accomplishment? Why do our teachers have to arrive in the morning and do extra cleaning because we can’t retain evening custodial staff?
Until we get our administrators, support staff, and teachers the resources and support they need, can we really be Madison Proud?