The Foundation’s primary goals include delivering resources to and championing the Madison Metropolitan School District. Advocacy is a key component of this. Raising awareness of the excellent things occurring in our public schools, as well as the need for additional ongoing public and private support from the community falls squarely in our mission. Join us in advocating for Madison’s public schools today!

Public K-12 Education Issues We’re Watching

Wisconsin State Superintendent Election 2021

Voters have spoken! During Wisconsin’s primaries on Tuesday, February 16, 2021, 
Deborah Kerr and Jill Underly advanced as the two finalists vying to be the next Wisconsin State Superintendent of Public Instruction. A final outcome will be decided during the spring election on Tuesday, April 6, 2021. The Foundation encourages you to vote and to stay informed on the State Superintendent race. This position has broad powers over our public school system and libraries, including making budgetary recommendations.

2021-2023 State Budget Process

On Monday, November 9, 2020, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction issued their 2021-2023 biennial budget request to Governor Tony Evers. The proposal calls for a $1.4 billion increase compared to the departments allocation in the previous budget cycle. This request comes as schools across the state continue to navigate changing learning environments all while meeting the basic needs of kids and families hurting the most. The proposed budget:

  • Apportions an extra $844 million in equalization aids – restoring the state’s commitment to funding 2/3 of public education costs.
  • Increases funding for special education by $371 million and mental health by $46.5 million.
  • Gives districts the option to use either 2020 or 2019 enrollment numbers in their determination of state aid.
  • Authorizes districts to count 4K students as full-time equivalents and restricts the amount of aid they can lose because of declined enrollment.

Read the full proposal here.

Governor Evers will review the Department of Public Instruction’s request and propose a full budget to the Legislature in the winter of 2021. From there, negotiations and public hearings will begin. A final budget is expected to be approved in the summer.

Madison Youth Savings Accounts (MYSA) - Learn more here.

In the summer of 2018, the City of Madison contracted with David Grace and Associates to
examine the feasibility of launching a child savings account. This program would offer MMSD students, particularly those with lower incomes, the opportunity to enroll in a savings account dedicated to post high school educational plans. Grace’s study overwhelmingly supported the implementation of a MYSA. To date, the mayor has expressed interest in the program and the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce included it in their 2019-2020 legislative agenda. Discussion has been put hold since the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Use your voice, let the city know they can make a difference by investing in the future of our kids.

Share with them how you could benefit.

Via the Cap Times, February, 16 2021: “Deborah Kerr and Jill Underly advance in state superintendent race

Meet Our Advocacy Committee

  • Dan Nerad, Chair, Former Superintendent, Madison Metropolitan School District
  • Mo Cheeks, Senior Business Development Manager, Civis Analytics
  • Ed Hughes, Partner, Stafford Rosenbaum LLP
  • Jill Jokela, UI Applications Development Section Chief, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
  • Andy Lyons, Engagement Specialist, Eppstein Uhen Architects
  • Melissa Scholz, Founder, Scholz Nonprofit Law
  • Daniel Sims, Donor Relations Director, Salvation Army Wisconsin & Upper Michigan Division
  • Michael Walsh, AVID Tutor, Madison Metropolitan School District; Government Relations Specialist and UniServ Director (Retired), Wisconsin Education Association Council

2020 Referendum – YOU Voted ‘Yes’

On November 3, 2020, our community overwhelmingly supported an operating and facilities referendum – delivering $350 million in resources to our public schools. Through our advocacy arm, Schools Make Madison Advocacy, Inc., the Foundation powered the Vote Yes 2 Invest campaign that encouraged voters to vote YES on both referenda questions. Learn more using the resources below.


CLICK to Visit MMSD’s Future Ready Site

Learn all about how the district will move forward with referendum plans.

CLICK to Visit the Vote Yes 2 Invest Website 

Meet the extraordinary team who delivered two ‘yes’ votes on November 3rd.

Partners and Strategic Links

The Wisconsin Public Education Network (WPEN) is a grassroots, nonpartison coalition to support our public schools.

Wisconsin Policy Forum CLICK to review education research.

GRUMPS is Grandparents United for Madison Public Schools.

Wisconsin Education Association Council – CLICK for news stream.