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Lucy Mathiak

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With union members mobilized by Gov. Scott Walker's collective bargaining changes, the upcoming recall elections, a divisive debate over a charter school proposal the union opposed and a looming rewrite of employee work rules, the Madison Teachers Inc. endorsement could be influential.

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My column this week focused on the gap between Madison Metropolitan School District Superintendent Dan Nerad and Urban League President Kaleem Caire over how to combat the achievement gap in the city's public schools.

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Leaders of a proposed charter school for low-income minority students said Friday they expect to have sufficient funding and will open Madison Prep as a private academy next fall but will continue to seek school board approval to make it a publicly funded charter school in 2013.

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An Urban League of Greater Madison executive said she will challenge two-term incumbent Arlene Silveira in next spring's Madison School Board election.

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A majority of the Madison School Board voted down the proposal for the controversial charter school to open next fall, prompting Urban League President Kaleem Caire to threaten a racial discrimination lawsuit.

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The School Board is scheduled to vote on the Madison Prep proposal at its meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 19, at Memorial High School, 201 S. Gammon Road (note that this is a change from the original location). 

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Former Commerce Secretary and Trek Bicycle executive Mary Burke said Monday she plans to run for Madison School Board next spring, adding a well-known figure to what is shaping up to be a high-stakes election.

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Madison School Board members plan to grill Superintendent Dan Nerad tonight about the district's updated improvement plan, which lists inconsistent practices among schools and classrooms as a reason the district faces sanctions under No Child Left Behind.

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