2006 SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION QUESTIONNAIRE
Response of candidate Maya P. Cole
1. The Madison Metropolitan School District held a referendum in June, 2003 to enable the MMSD to exceed the state’s repressive revenue controls. Did you support the 2003 referendum?
2. a. The School Board held three (3) referenda in Spring, 2005. Did you support the referendum to enable the School Board to continue the expenditure level for maintenance, as was approved in a referendum 5 years ago?
b. Did you support the 2005 referendum to exceed the State’s repressive revenue controls in 2005 for general operating expenses, including staffing levels (so class sizes don’t increase and to provide wage increases?
c. Did you support the 2005 referendum to enable school construction to alleviate overcrowded schools?
3. If the School Board finds it necessary to change school boundaries due to enrollment, what criteria would you use as a Board member to make such a judgment?
Currently, the Board has created task forces to examine the boundary issues that it faces. The task forces are made up of various community members, and it is critical that their voices be heard. The Board’s final decisions must be based on what is best for the children who attend those schools. That analysis must include consideration of issues such as transportation, long-term district plans, and family links to the various schools.
4. If the School Board finds it necessary to close a school/schools due to economic reasons, what criteria would you use as a Board member to make such a judgment?
I find it impossible to respond to this question on a theoretical level.
5. If the School Board finds it necessary to make the $6-9 million in budget cuts for the 2006-07 budget which Supt. Rainwater is mentioning, what criteria would you use as a Board member to make such a judgment?
Any discussion of budget cuts for the 2006-07 school year presumes the existence of a budget that is comprehensible and susceptible to rational analysis. Currently, I do not believe any such budget exists, so it is extremely difficult for an outsider to identify specific cuts or even to determine whether they are really necessary.
6. Identify specific MMSD programs and/or policies which you believe should to (sic) be modified, re-prioritized or eliminated, and explain why.
At this time, I do not have a list of specific programs that should be modified or eliminated. Such a list can be prepared only after a thorough and reasonable analysis of the current budget.
7. What should the District do to reduce violence/assure that proper discipline and safety (of the learning and working environment) is (sic) maintained in our schools?
Each school should have an internal discipline plan that is developed in consultation with parents, students, faculty, staff, and administrators. Schools and parents must work in concert to set and enforce expectations for student behavior in the schools. That said, we cannot make any decisions until we have accurate information and analysis on what constitutes violence in the schools.
8. Explain any concerns/proposed solutions you have about the District’s minority achievement efforts.
Minority achievement continues to lag; we are improving, but we are not improving quickly enough. I would your definition of “minority” as there are many children of color in the district with various degrees of achievement. Bottom line, we must do better. I would want to see more accredited teaching staff of color in the classrooms; the district to offer coursework in each high school in various ethnic studies for credit, i.e. Social Studies, or English; and the district to sponsor parent-run/student-run organizations where they can inform and support themselves.
9. Explain your position regarding four-year-old and all-day kindergarten programs.
Such programs should be available, but they should be voluntary.
10. Would you support the Early Learning Initiative, if it violated the MTI/MMSD Contract ban on contracting out?
I am not familiar with the specific contract provision to which you refer, and you did not include it in the questionnaire you sent me.
11. Should planning time for elementary teachers be increased? If yes, how could this be accomplished? (see Contract provision attached.)
I am unable to respond to this question because you did not attach the contract provision to the questionnaire you sent me.
12. Given that the Wisconsin Association of School Boards rarely supports the interests of the Madison Metropolitan School District, do you support the District withdrawing from the WASB?
No. I disagree that the Wisconsin Association of School Boards “rarely” supports the interests of the MMSD. I believe that the Association serves the interests of all school boards, including the MMSD, in its advocacy and other efforts.
13. From what sources do you believe that public schools should be funded?
Public schools should be supported by the entire community through taxation at a reasonable level.
a. Do you support further increasing student fees?
Not without a thorough analysis of the current budget. The purpose of the public schools is to make all aspects of a quality education available for all children. To the extent that we require students to pay fees, we limit the opportunities available to those who cannot pay them. This is not what public schools are supposed to do.
14. Do you support class sizes of 15 or less for the primary grades?
I support small class sizes in the primary grades.
15. Do you oppose:
a. The use of public funds (vouchers) to enable parents to pay tuition with tax payers’ money for religious and private schools?
b. The expansion of Charter schools within the Madison Metropolitan School District?
There is no simple answer to this question. I support the expansion of charter schools if a specific need exists that is not and cannot be met by use of existing educational resources.
c. Senate Bill 377 which creates a charter school in Madison and Milwaukee under the direction of the University of Wisconsin System?
I am not familiar with Senate Bill 377 and therefore cannot comment on its provisions.
16. List MMSD staff and Board member(s) from whom you do or would seek advice.
I believe that every Board member and every member of the MMSD staff has valuable input to offer regarding how the MMSD should operate to educate our city’s children. I will seek advice from anyone who is willing to give it to me.
17. Is your candidacy being promoted by any organization? If yes, please name such organization(s).
As you know, no candidate is able to compel any outside organization to support or stop supporting a political campaign.
18. Have you even been employed as a teacher? If yes, please describe why you left the teaching profession.
I have never been employed as a teacher.
19. Do you support the inclusion model for including Title 1 (sic), EEN and ESL students in the regular education classroom? Why/why not?
This is a complicated question to which it is not possible to give a simple yes/no answer. I believe these decisions should be made on a student-by-student basis, with careful consideration given to the individual needs of each student and the extent to which the student will disrupt the classroom environment.
20. The Board of Education has moved from the development of policy to becoming involved in implementation of policy; i.e. matters usually reserved to administration. Some examples are when it:
a. Decided to hear parents’ complaints about a teacher’s tests and grading.
b. Decided to modify the administration’s decision about how a State Statute should be implemented.
Do you believe that the Board should delegate to administration the implementation of policy which the Board has created and the implementation of State Statutes?
Within reasonable limits, yes. However, ultimate responsibility for the MMSD’s actions rests with elected officials who are accountable to the public. If the administration is failing to correctly administer a Board-created policy or failing to comply with state or federal law, it is the Board’s responsibility to ensure compliance.
Do you believe that the Board should delegate to administration the implementation of State Statues?
Yes, but within reasonable limits. As I already explained, the Board is an elected body that is accountable to the public for the MMSD’s performance. Ultimately, the Board is responsible for complying with the applicable state and federal law.
Would you support the Board exploring a means to make their meetings more efficient?
It depends on the means. Board meetings should be an opportunity for open, public debate about the important issues our district faces. I do not like to waste time. However, I do not believe that time spent in debating critical issues or hearing public comment is wasted time.
21. Do/will your children attend private or parochial schools during their K-12 years? If no, and if you have children, what schools have/will they attend(ed)?
My oldest son attends Randall Elementary; the two youngest attend Franklin Elementary. None have attended a private school.
22. Will you introduce and vote for a motion which would direct the Wisconsin Association of School Boards to request the introduction and promote the passage of legislation to eliminate the revenue controls on public schools?
The Wisconsin Association of School Boards has taken the legislative position that current revenue limit increases are appropriate if the legislature restores the 2/3 funding. I believe that the best interests of children, parents, teachers, administrators, and taxpayers are served by this advocacy approach.
23. Will you introduce and vote for a motion which would direct the Wisconsin Association of School Boards to oppose any legislation which would authorize a tax freeze and/or a taxpayers bill of rights (TABOR)?
The Wisconsin Association of School Boards has already taken a position opposing TABOR.
24. Will you introduce and vote for a motion to direct the Wisconsin Association of School Boards to request the introduction and promote the passage of legislation to eliminate the Qualified Economic Offer which restricts free and open collective bargaining and would enable teacher wages to be established through negotiations between the parties?
Any proposed revision to the QEO must take into account the extremely unfavorable revenue climate created by the state legislature’s decision to eliminate 2/3 funding and severely restrict revenue increases. It is unfair to ask teachers and students to shoulder a burden that is the legislature’s responsibility, but it is also unfair to ask Madison taxpayers to assume an even higher property tax burden.
25. Will you introduce and vote for a motion to direct the Wisconsin Association of School Boards to request the introduction and promote the passage of legislation to prohibit the privatization of public schools via the use of tuition tax credits (vouchers) to pay tuition with taxpayers’ money to private or religious schools?
The purpose of public funding of public education is to ensure that all children have access to public education. I fully support the right of parents to educate their children at private schools, should they choose to do so. However, they should not be able to do so at public expense.
26. Will you introduce and vote for a motion to direct the Wisconsin Association of School Boards to request the introduction and promote the passage of legislation which will maintain or expand the benefit level of the Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act?
Any proposed revision to the Wisconsin FMLA must take into account the extremely unfavorable revenue climate created by the state legislature’s decision to eliminate 2/3 funding and severely restrict revenue increases. It is unfair to ask teachers and students to shoulder a burden that is the legislature’s responsibility, but it is also unfair to ask Madison taxpayers to assume an even higher property tax burden.
27. Will you introduce and vote for a motion to direct the Wisconsin Association of School Boards to request the introduction and promote the passage of legislation which will increase the retirement formula multiplier from 1.6% to 2 % for teachers and general employees, i.e. equal that (sic) of protective employees?
No. The 1.6 percent multiplier is the standard multiplier for state and participating municipal employees who are not classified as protective employees.
28. Will you introduce and vote for a motion to direct the Wisconsin Association of School Boards to request the introduction and promote the passage of legislation which will prohibit public employee residency requirements?
As a rule, municipal employers are moving away from public employee residency requirements. I do not think a residency requirement is necessary in the MMSD, but would allow each individual school board to independently make that determination.
29. Will you introduce and vote for a motion to direct the Wisconsin Association of School Boards to request the introduction and promote the passage of legislation which will eliminate and forbid restrictions to free and open collective bargaining for the selection of insurance for public employees (under Wis. Stat. 111.70), including the naming of the insurance carrier?
30. Will you introduce and vote for a motion to direct the Wisconsin Association of School Boards to request the introduction and promote the passage of legislation which will guarantee free and open collective bargaining regarding the establishment of the school calendar/school year, including the right to begin the school year, via negotiations between MTI and the District?
Not at the present time. I am not convinced of the need to collectively bargain the scope of the school year.
31. Will you introduce and vote for a motion to direct the Wisconsin Association of School Boards to request the introduction and promote the passage of legislation to forbid the work of employees organized under Wis. Stat. 111.70 (collective bargaining statute) to be subcontracted?
I do not know enough about this issue to comment intelligently about it at this time. I look forward to receiving MTI’s input when we meet on Tuesday.
32. Will you introduce and vote for legislation which will mandate full State funding of any State mandated program?
I strongly support full state and federal funding for all state-mandated and federally mandated programs. However, the power to pass legislation requiring such funding rests with the state and federal legislatures, not with the Board.
33. Will you introduce and vote for legislation which will provide for adequate State funding of public education?
I would like to see powerful state funding for public education, not merely “adequate” funding. However, the power to pass legislation providing for state funding of public education rests with the state legislature, not with the Board.
34. Are you, or any of your campaign committee members, active in or supportive of the “Get Real”, “ACE”, or “Vote No for Change” organizations?
I am not a member of any of these organizations. My husband, my treasurer, and my campaign manager are not, either. However, I have publicly committed to speaking to and receiving input from any group that takes an interest in the District’s future, whether that group is MTI or one of the groups listed above.
35. Name of Campaign Committe/Address/Phone #/Treasurer. List the members of your campaign committee.
Part of this question is unclear. I do not have a formal campaign committee. The key people working with me are my husband, Scott McAndrew; my treasurer, Peter Wadsack; and my campaign manager, Francis X. Sullivan.
36. Do you accept PAC contributions?
Maya P. Cole Date