MMSD Budget Development

How does it work?

Every year, we set out to develop a budget for our district that aligns with our Strategic Framework, meets the needs of students and staff, and is fiscally responsible in light of State mandated revenue restrictions. Our process is to:

  • Collect and analyze input from students, staff and families collected throughout the year
  • Work with schools and departments to determine budgeting goals and guiding principles 
  • Create a revenue forecast based on current law and projected enrollment
  • Develop and fund our strategic equity projects in line with the Strategic Framework and input received throughout the year
  • Create a district-wide staffing plan using enrollment projections 
  • Develop a positive compensation strategy, including salaries/wages and benefits
  • Budget expected increases, such as utilities and transportation costs
  • Identify savings needed to balance budget gaps, focusing at the central office level first

Every year in May and June, the Board revisits this budget process to confirm directional decisions earlier in the process.  Due to the impact of COVID-19, revisiting budget assumptions made prior to March 2020 was critically important this year.  Ultimately, the Board of Education revised earlier assumptions on revenue and thus in turn expenditures due to COVID-19.

How does the Draft Preliminary Budget reflect the District’s priorities?

It is more important than ever for us to work in partnership with the community. Through our district ways of working, we collect and analyze feedback from students, staff and family all year.  The data collected is analyzed by our qualitative research specialist and published on the research website. This information is then used by the Board of Education and the district’s Senior Leadership Team to develop the budget goals, parameters, and strategic equity projects.  The following are primary examples of community input utilized to create the budget:

Introducing the 2020-21 Budget Proposal: 

The 2020-21 Original October  Budget Proposal for the Madison Metropolitan School District has been updated with new revenue and expenditure assumptions to reflect the economic realities of the impact of COVID-19.  Development of the proposal has been guided by regular monthly direction provided by the Board, along with input from staff, parents, and the Madison community collected through the process to develop the new Strategic Framework and the process to gain insight on the potential November 2020 referenda.  

The Board  adopted a Preliminary Budget at the June 29, 2020 regular meeting.  The 2020-21 fiscal year began on July 1, 2020 and has been implemented.  On October 26th, the Board is scheduled to adopt both the Original Budget as well as a Passing Referenda Scenario. The budget implemented will be dependent on the outcome of the November 3rd referenda.

The revenue forecast for 2020-21, without any referenda authority, includes updated budget assumptions due to the impacts of COVID-19: (1) state ‘per pupil’ categorical aid to school districts will have no per pupil increase; (2) a $179 per student revenue limit increase in taxing authority; (3) no new 2016 operating referendum authority; and (4) the last $1 million available from the August 2016 TID #25 agreement  with the City of Madison.

With limited resources, the Board needs to make balanced investments putting equity and the district’s core values first. Investments in our base budget include:

  • M-year priorities outlined in our Strategic Framework that have proven outcomes, such as:
    • Accelerated licensure for hard-to-staff positions,
    • Expansion of mental health supports,
    • Expansion of our Welcoming Schools curriculum, and
    • Expansion of personalized opportunities for post-secondary success.
  • Continuing investments for the recommendations provided by the Black Excellence Coalition aimed at meeting the social-emotional and academic needs of Black youth; advanced learning opportunities for students with a focus on students of color; and curriculum development that is historically accurate and culturally relevant.
  • Increased staffing for students with disabilities, including moving to a district-wide resource allocation model for special education aligned to the needs of students.
  • A total compensation increase of $5 million, or 2% wage increase on average for staff. A two-year adoption plan for new K-5 reading curriculum materials.
  • The Passing Referenda Scenario includes additional investments to support academic acceleration including:
    • Early literacy.  Supporting $1.5M in early literacy investments this year, allowing us to fully fund a new reading curriculum and professional development on the science of reading, reading certifications for teachers, and the launch of a pilot 4K full day program for 2021-22.
    • High quality staff.  In addition to the $5M (2% average) total compensation increase, another $1.25M of referenda funding, or an additional .5% total compensation increase.
    • $550,000 to stabilize and expand successful pilot projects including  Special Education Transition and the district’s MicroSchools project for our Opportunity Youth
    • Expand our investments into the Black Excellence Fund by $100,000 for a total of $450,000 the district’s innovation hub for ideas brought forward by our black staff and black community to support new ways of supporting and educating our youth that can be tried, evaluated and expanded if successful.
    • $500,000 to support recurring budget increases for building maintenance at elementary and middle schools across the district.
    • Over $2M in COVID 19 related projects, including reserves for air quality investments in schools and the hopeful start of MMSD access to COVID testing.

How does the 2020-21 Budget process link to the November 2020 referendum?

Learn more information in this regard on the Potential 2020 Operating Referendum page.

What is the 2020-21 Budget Timeline?

  • April 27: Draft Preliminary Budget presented to Board
  • April 27: Draft budget posted to MMSD Website, Budget Community input portal opened
  • May 4 to May 17: Targeted budget input sessions
  • May 4 - May 31: Board Member Budget Amendment Process
  • May 11: Budget Input Session #1 at Operations Workgroup
  • June 15: Budget Input Session # 2 at Operations Workgroup, Confirm Board Amendments for June 29 vote
  • June 29: Board vote to adopt preliminary budget
  • September 14: Board Operation Work Group discussion on the Budget
  • October 12:  Board Operation Work Group discussion on the Budget
  • October 26: Board adoption of a final Original Budget for 2020-21