Madison school board gives preliminary approval for 2022-23 budget

MADISON, Wis. — The Madison Metropolitan School District Board of Education approved a preliminary budget for 2022-23, officials announced Monday.

By a 6-1 vote, the board greenlit funding for full-day 4K expansion as well as a year-end bonus proposal for district staff. Full-time, eligible staff would receive a one-time non-recurring bonus of $1,000. 2022 summer semester and Summer Arts Academy eligible staff would receive a one-time non-recurring $500 bonus.

The new budget also includes a 3% base wage increase for all employees, a 2% increase on average for steps and lanes, and added funds to expand social-emotional and mental health services for students and staff.

“We are pleased to provide our community a balanced budget we can all be excited about,” Superintendent Carlton D. Jenkins said in a statement. “It is a reflection of our values.”

However, not everyone was as excited about the new spending plan as Jenkins. In a Facebook post, MMSD board member Nicki Vander Meulen called the bonus proposal “rather insulting.”

“All Teachers and All Staff deserve a full cost of living increase not a bonus,” she said. “If the District can pay bonuses they can pay for COLA.”

The 3% wage increase falls below the 4.7% mark set by the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission that Madison Teachers Inc. called for. The number is based on the Wisconsin Department of Revenue’s Consumer Price Index.

MTI is also pushing for a pay raise for educational assistants, school security assistants, nursing assistants, clerical and office staff. MTI President Mike Jones said in a Facebook post before Monday’s meeting that those employees are not feeling heard, and are not being given the same bonuses as their co-workers.

“Increasing the EA and SSA starting wage by $5 is the priority for the health and safety of maintaining and growing our workforce,” Jones wrote. ” Especially when our most vulnerable students and families rely on these relationships to stay engaged with their education.”

MMSD still has to finalize the budget. That is set to take place at a regular board meeting in October.