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 is calling for one of the most ambitious K-12 budgets in the state’s history. His proposal would restore the state’s commitment to funding 2/3 of public education costs. In the budget, we are closely monitoring Governor Ever’s plan to fund full day 4-k – an equity project MMSD has started piloting at three schools. We will urge the legislature to pass this critically needed budget that addresses many issues facing our public schools.

A final budget is expected to be approved in the summer of 2021.

  • 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.
Wisconsin State Superintendent Election 2021

Voters have spoken! Jill Underly will become the next
Wisconsin State Superintendent of Public Instruction. The final outcome was decided during the Wisconsin spring election on Tuesday, April 6, 2021.

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.

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, Wisconsin Foundation & Alumni Association
  • 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 https://fmps.org/donate-to-fmps/ and indicate “Schools Make Madison Advocates” in the notes section.

In the news

Via the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, April 20 2021: “Governor Evers, DHS Announce More Than $175 Million to Support COVID-19 Testing in Schools

Via the Cap Times, April 7 2021: “Jill Underly wins state superintendent election; vows to ensure all schools open in the fall

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:  fmps.org/donate/west-high-campaign

Memorial High:  fmps.org/donate/memorial-high-campaign


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.