Madison Media Digest: Education, Environment, Government

Here’s what we were reading while enjoying some music on Capitol Square.


The Madison School Board passed its preliminary 2015-16 budget, which calls for a 4.9 percent property tax increase (about $100 on the average Madison home). The estimated cut in state aid to the Madison district under the proposed state budget is actually slightly smaller than had been budgeted for, although still a 3.5 percent reduction. What does the tax increase say about the district’s priorities?

A program at LaFollette High School reaches out to at-risk young men. Critics of the school district’s discipline plan say kids are getting away with too much. A Madison teacher says this is an important time to be teaching young people about social justice. Madison schools’ new policy against clothing with Indian names, mascots or logos was originally developed by the Native American Student Association


A state budget provision would block Dane County from requiring Enbridge Energy to carry a $25M insurance policy against spills in return for approval of a high-speed pipeline that would run through the county. The Madison finance committee approved an urban forest charge, to help pay for work to protect the city’s trees and deal with the Emerald Ash Borer. We reported on the city’s efforts in dealing with the invasive beetle and the need for landowners to protect their own trees. Researchers are using social media to track foxes and coyotes in the city.


Retired Madison Police Chief Noble Wray discussed implicit bias in policing. Most police-citizen interactions don’t include violence says Chris Rickert. Madison’s police body camera pilot program may be delayed due to delays in setting up the test. One Madison alder wants to prevent paid lobbyists from serving on city committees. Mayor Paul Soglin has proposed significant changes in fees the city charges for outdoor seating at restaurants. Madison’s finance committee approved the framework of a deal with Exact Sciences Corporation as part of a planned development just south of Capitol Square. Dane County should demonstrate the benefits of nonpartisan redistricting, says the Wisconsin State Journal. The mayor appointed a permanent director of planning, community and economic development. Driven by millennials and empty nesters, Madison’s apartment boom shows no sign of slowing. A housing development near East Washington including services for the recently homeless will break ground.