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02/09/2022 07:00 AM

Shift Our Strategy

Many lifelong Madison residents live here because their parents chose this community to raise children. Decisions in the 1960s and 1970s to invest in our school infrastructures benefited children who grew into many of the current adults in this beautiful town.

It’s never a good time to ask individuals to give more. The trauma of the pandemic and rising inflation are only our most recent stressors. Before that, economic recession made significant infrastructure investments difficult. Since Hand was built 20 years ago, we have prioritized maintenance over true improvement. Taxpayers see the effects of this deferred investment. School budgets are rising despite closed buildings. We continue to pour money into maintaining our aging facilities. Costs will only rise beyond the next 10 years, when we would be maintaining 80-year-old buildings.

We need a change in strategy. By voting “Yes” to the School Renewal Plan, we are voting to stop putting Band-Aids over these gaping issues. We are voting to make our tax dollars work as responsibly as possible. Compared to the $100 million school maintenance projection, we are voting for an $89 million loan that qualifies for $10 million in grant relief and a reduction in maintenance to $50 million. For a difference of $29 million, we will have a new building, two improved buildings, and three aged buildings removed from operation. We will gain buildings that are healthy, safe, and aligned with the education children need in the 21st century. These buildings will be appropriate workspaces for the amazing teachers we hope to retain.

When people consider moving to our town, they will see buildings that are consistent with the quality of education we strive to offer. It is time to shift our strategy to reflect the values that attracted so many Madison families decades ago.

Erica McMillian