The Madison Metropolitan School District, for example, could be facing a $3 million shortfall from the preliminary budget discussed this spring. Superintendent Carlton Jenkins called the ongoing funding choices by the state a “structural issue” beyond the 2021-23 budget.

“We will begin to have to make even tougher decisions,” Jenkins said. “We have to reinvest in our children so that we can have the type of society we want to have.”    Read the full story.  

ACT NOW:  Send a letter to your legislator AND contact the Joint Finance Committee demanding that they invest for the best schools and education for our K-12 youth.

On November 3, 2020, Madison residents voted to pass a historic operating and facilities referenda, delivering $350 million in resources to the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD). Led by the Foundation for Madison’s Public Schools, the Vote Yes 2 Invest campaign was not only integral in this victory for Madison’s public schools, students, and staff, but also marked the beginning of what is now the Foundation’s advocacy arm, Schools Make Madison Advocates. As a leading voice advocating on behalf of Madison’s public schools, we are committed to continuing the fight as our community addresses the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Schools Make Madison Advocates 2021 Agenda

2021-2023 State Budget Process

Governor Tony Evers called for one of the most ambitious K-12 budgets in the state’s history. His proposal would have restored the state’s commitment to funding 2/3 of public education costs. Additionally, Evers’ budget had planned to fund critical equity projects such as full day 4-k across the state. See the below articles for more on what the state legislature’s Joint Finance Committee approved for education funding. 

Via the Wisconsin State Journal, May 28, 2021: “GOP budget increases K-12 spending less than 10% of Tony Evers’ proposal

Via the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, May 27, 2021: “JFC approves education funding plan

  • Food Security – over 12,000 (47%) MMSD children qualify for free or reduced meals. These students rely on MMSD for two meals and snacks, 180 days a year. There is a high need to cover operating costs so MMSD can continue to service mobile food pantries and provide food to students attending schools.
  • Child Care – When schools shut down in March of 2020, Madison School & Community Recreation (MSCR), a department of MMSD, offered childcare services through their Cares program for 650 children in grades K-5, Monday – Friday. While this unique programing will end on April 21, 2021 – MMSD will face a significant budget gap due to the extraordinary increase in demand for childcare during virtual learning.
  • Broadband Access – virtual learning has once again brought the digital divide to the forefront of inequities. Persons without reliable internet access continue to be at a higher risk of falling behind, deepening already existing achievement gaps.
  • Mental Health – COVID-19 has contributed to spikes in anxiety and depression. As part of COVID recovery efforts, there is a need to advocate for expanded social-emotional well-being resources across the district.
  • Federal Relief – any and all funds from the federal government can be used to provide relief for the issues impacting our public schools.

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, Retired, 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, Senior Director of Development, University of Wisconsin Foundation
  • Michael Walsh, AVID Tutor, Madison Metropolitan School District; Government Relations Specialist and UniServ Director (Retired), Wisconsin Education Association Council


Contact Melinda Heinritz, Executive Director, Schools Make Madison Advocates: [email protected]

Support Our Advocacy Agenda

Make a gift at and indicate “Schools Make Madison Advocates” in the notes section.

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.

The Foundation is currently partnering with Memorial and West High Schools to support complimentary Future Ready fundraising efforts. Learn more by visiting either of the fund pages linked below:

West High:

Memorial High:


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.