‘We have an opportunity to keep the momentum going:’ MMSD makes final referendum pitch to voters

MADISON, Wis. — The Madison Metropolitan School District is passing two budgets, depending on the fate of its referendum questions on the November ballot.

State law requires the district to pass a budget by the end of October, but without knowing if their two referendum questions totaling $350 million will pass, the district had to pass two plans, depending on what passes and what fails.

Speaking on News 3 Now This Morning, MMSD Chief of Elementary Schools Dr. Tremayne Clardy said passing the referendum was important to keep building on what the district has prioritized.

“We have an opportunity to keep the momentum that we’ve already had in providing equitable opportunities for our students, the opportunity to have lower class sizes, to recruit and retain high-qualified staff,” Clardy said.

If the referendum does not pass, Clardy said, the district may have to lay off teachers and other staff members, and class sizes would go up as a result.

“We’ve all been taught by educators,” Clardy said. “What they bring to our classrooms, what they bring to our community, what they provide to our children is immeasurable and we want to support our educators in every way possible.”

Clardy said the referendum is an opportunity to turn aging — and sometimes century-old — classrooms into 21st century classrooms. The facilities referendum would also cover improvements at Capital High School and build a new elementary school, Rimrock Elementary, which Clardy says would help address a gap in the district’s educational service.

Construction on those projects would wrap up by 2024, and would cost the average property owner in Madison about $140 per year for the next 22 years.