May 17, 2005

Referenda politics

I was surprised to get the email below which is intended, I thought, to provide updates on the mayor's activities. My objection is not that a position was taken on the referenda questions, or even that a link was provided to send contributions to those seeking yes votes. Rather, it was the characterization that those who think a no vote is the wiser choice are REPUBLICANS. That's a mighty dirty word in this town.

I'll be voting no on the expansion of Leopold. After educating myself on the issues, (thank you School Information System for providing such high quality, non-partisan, primary source information) I've concluded that building such a large school is unwise; more important, there are changes in the neighborhood demographics that argue at least for a fresh look. That means I could be persuaded in the future, but as things stand right now, I'm voting no.

As to the other two questions, I'm still trying to work out the answer. I resent being played by the administration over items like strings and I don't believe the board has done its job, the careful oversight of the budget/budget process. I don't trust the numbers and I don't like the fact that Supt Rainwater protected his staff before the budget process formally began. Administration seems like a very fat piece of the budget and, at the risk of offending, also seems like it serves as the golden parachute for long-serving prinicipals as they edge toward retirement. That said, I want our schools able to function to educate our kids. So what I have to decide is if this vote will prompt the board to reevaluate how it does its job.

Does this make me a Republican?

Dear Friends, I hope you agree with me that there is nothing more important to the health of a city than its public school system. In Madison we're lucky to have one of the best in the nation. In fact, a recent national publication ranked MPS the third best school system anywhere in America.

Good schools are obviously good for young families. But they're also good for the environment. Top notch schools keep families in the city and so they reduce the pressure for sprawl. And even if you don't have kids, quality schools add value to your home because the quality of the school system is a key ingredient in resale value. Finally, if you're just a bleeding heart liberal like me, you might support high quality public education just because it's good for the community and you have faith that well-educated kids will grow up to make a better world.

Whatever your reason, we have an opportunity on May 24th to stand up for one of the best school systems in the nation. Our schools are threatened with crumbling infrastructure, overcrowding and cuts to the kinds of programs that will help our kids compete in the 21st century economy. To correct those problems and to preserve the quality of our public schools, there are three referenda on the May 24th ballot. These referenda allow the district to pay for needed maintenance, build a much-needed new elementary school, and continue the high quality of day-to-day education in every school. I hope you will join me in voting YES on all three.

And you can do one more thing. The Dane County Republican Party has joined the fight against these much needed improvements. I expect a well-financed last minute campaign from the far-right. You can join me in fighting back by making a contribution TODAY to the leading group running a clean, grass-roots campaign in favor of the referenda.

Send your check to:

Madison Cares
...
(Yes, Fitchburg. Part of the Madison Public School District extends into the city of Fitchburg.) PLEASE SEND YOUR CHECK TODAY. THE ELECTION IS ONLY A WEEK AWAY AND WE NEED YOUR HELP RIGHT AWAY TO COUNTER THE ATTACKS FROM THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.

Thanks for your help!

Dave Cieslewicz

Friends of Dave Cieslewicz
P.O. Box 2164
Madison, WI 53704
office@daveformadison.com

Posted by at May 17, 2005 9:56 AM | Subscribe to this site via RSS:
Posted to Politics