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Editorial: Vote 'yes' and 'yes' for strong, safe and equitable public schools

Editorial: Vote 'yes' and 'yes' for strong, safe and equitable public schools

MMSD Referendum 6-09302020102001 (copy)

Flights of stairs between levels of classrooms at Madison LaFollette High School make it difficult for physically-challenged students to navigate the school in Madison, Wis. Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL

Madison voters will back Joe Biden for president in November and Kamala Harris for vice president. They will elect progressive Democrats to the state Legislature. We know that. The lingering question is whether they vote for the students and staff of the Madison Metropolitan School District.

A pair of referendums — a $317 million proposal that will pay for urgent school building and facility renovations and a $33 million proposal to fund equally urgent operating expenses — both merit support.

“Here in Madison, our education system has effectively disenfranchised Black and Brown students for generations," said Madison School Board member Savion Castro. "While we have incredible educators and staff that help students learn and overcome adversity, we need systemic change. I believe both the building referendum and the operating referendum together provide an important opportunity for our community to make these changes.”

He’s right.

A strong “yes” vote is essential on each of these referendums because, as Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce president Zach Brandon explained, “Putting resources into facilities, technology and programming now will help address pervasive disparities exacerbated by the COVID-19 outbreak.”

Once the pandemic is overcome, however, the investment will truly pay off because strong, safe and equitable public schools provide the essential underpinning for a strong, safe and equitable community.

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