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Madison school funds jeopardized as bill passes Senate
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Madison school funds jeopardized as bill passes Senate

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A bill that Madison School District officials say could take state funding from the district passed the state Senate on Thursday without changes and is headed to the desk of Gov. Jim Doyle.

The measure would increase the maximum class size in schools receiving funding under the Student Achievement Guarantee in Education program. The limit would become 18 students per class, up from the current maximum of 15, which would make SAGE more affordable for some school districts.

But the bill passed by the Senate eliminated an option that Madison has used with state approval to receive SAGE funding for students who are in smaller classes only part of the school day. The district is spending about $7.8 million in SAGE programs, including about $2 million from local taxpayers.

[Editor's note: This story has been changed to reflect a correction. The Madison School District is spending $7.8 million this year on a state program to reduce class sizes, including about $2 million provided by local taxpayers. A story on Page A3 Friday incorrectly reported the total amount of spending.]

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A bill that would raise class limits from 15 to 18 students in the state's SAGE, or Student Achievement Guarantee in Education, program appeared to be on the fast-track for passage by the state Senate Wednesday until lawmakers became aware of concerns among Madison school officials that changes to the program could cost the district more to educate some of its youngest low-income students.

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