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Madison schools to ask $41 million referendum question

Madison schools to ask $41 million referendum question

The Madison Metropolitan School District will ask voters for $41 million school facilities referendum in April.

A school district official said the school board finalized a project list involving 16 schools during a Monday meeting.

If approved, the money would be used to improve accessibility in 10 schools, add classroom space to five schools and renovate four schools in need of upgrades.

The biggest projects include $8 million in renovations at Jefferson Middle School and $4 million to redo the theater at East High School.

If approved, taxpayers owning an average $237,000 home would pay an additional $62.95 a year in property taxes for 10 years.

"If we can get these addressed not only will we create stronger schools and learning environments for our students, but we will set ourselves up for some long-term facilities planning that will really help bring our vision as a school district to life," MMSD Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham said.

$78K in grant funding goes toward creative, innovative projects

$78K in grant funding goes toward creative, innovative projects

Grant funding to support creative and innovative projects not funded within the core school budget was approved for 49 Madison schools Tuesday, according to a release.

The Foundation for Madison?s Public Schools approved $78,290 for the grants, officials said. The grants are part of the Foundation?s School Endowment initiative, which is the first of its kind in the country.

?As budgets continue to tighten, the foundation?s role and our community?s support of public education are becoming increasingly important,? FMPS Executive Director Stephanie Hayden said. ?These grants provide the tools and support to enrich education opportunities for the more than 27,000 Madison public school students.?

State’s report cards show MMSD meets expectations

State education officials say the majority of Wisconsin public schools and school districts meet or exceed expectations for student achievement.

The Madison Metropolitan School District was rated at 69.8, which is meeting expectations. That score is an improvement over last year’s score of 68.5.

While Madison remained in the bottom third of districts statewide, it moved up from 11th to eighth among districts located in cities.

“As a school district, we’ve been very focused on the school improvement process. That means tightening up the process by which we set measurable goals for them to choose a few powerful strategies for meeting those goals and then consistently monitoring them along the way so they can make adjustments,” MMSD Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham said. “We believe this is how you raise student achievement to narrow achievement gaps.”

Multiple UW students receive threatening scam calls, police say

Multiple UW students receive threatening scam calls, police say

Police said multiple students received threatening spam phone calls Friday evening near campus.

The city of Madison and University of Wisconsin-Madison police departments said they received reports from international students of scam phone calls.

Police said the victims reported similar experiences, saying the caller, who sounded male, claimed to be a government representative trying to collect taxes. The caller threatened each victim, saying they could be arrested if they did not immediately pay the taxes.

Each victim who reported receiving a call realized it was a scam and did not give the caller money, according to the report.

Police reminded citizens to be wary of scam calls and never give out personal information over the phone. The IRS or other government agencies will not call citizens and require payment over the phone, police said.

Hippie Christmas prompts bed bug, insect discussion

Hippie Christmas prompts bed bug, insect discussion

The yearly chaos when students move out of their current apartments and into their apartments for the next year is happening in downtown Madison the next couple of days.

Leases for apartments turn over Thursday into Friday, and the massive move means Hippie Christmas on many downtown streets near campus.

Students are dumping what they don't want on the curb, which is everything from TVs and school supplies to old furniture.

Officials with the Tenant Resource Center are urging people to be mindful of bed bugs and other insects when picking up stuff off the street.

"Tenants are always very concerned they're going to be charged a thousand bucks for the heat treatment (to get rid of bed bugs)," said Anders Zanichkowsky, program director of the Tenant Resource Center. "Landlords are very concerned that if the tenant doesn't report it, it's going to spread to all their units before they even know about it."

Oliver Stone to speak at Union South Thursday

Acclaimed film director and military veteran Oliver Stone is set to speak on campus Thursday night alongside Peter Kuznick, director of the Nuclear Studies Institute.  

The event is part of the Wisconsin Union's Distinguished Lecture Series. Stone and Kuznick will speak at 7:30 p.m. at Union South in the Varsity Hall.

Visit www.union.wisc.edu for more information. 

Police offer burglary prevention tips

Police offer burglary prevention tips

A daytime burglary of a residence on St. James Court Tuesday prompted police to warn University of Wisconsin-Madison students headed out of town for spring break this month to take steps to prevent similar crimes. 

In a statement Wednesday morning, Madison Police Department spokesman Joel DeSpain suggested downtown residents lock doors on homes, garages and vehicles and secure sliding doors and windows. 

"Deadbolts are best," DeSpain said. "But utilize whatever type you have even when you are at home."

In securing vehicles, valuables such as GPS units should not be left in plain view. Police suggested drivers bring any valuables inside or put them in the trunk.