City of Madison After School Services Initiative Criticized for “Lack of Transparency”

Local watchdogs and litigators say a City of Madison initiative and its multiple committees should provide the public with greater transparency. In a unanimous 2017 decision, the Wisconsin Supreme Court held that committees created by local governmental bodies in Wisconsin are themselves governmental bodies subject to the state's open meetings law. Wisconsin open meetings law states: “All meetings of all state and local governmental bodies shall be publicly held in places reasonably accessible to members of the public and shall be open to all citizens at all times unless otherwise expressly provided by law.”

Public bodies are required to give notice of the time, date, location and general agenda of all meetings at least 24 hours in advance. Even when, “for good cause such notice is impossible or impractical…in no case may the notice be provided less than 2 hours in advance of [a] meeting.”

Madison-area Out-of-School Time, or MOST, is a City of Madison initiative. According to the City’s website, the group was started by Mayor Paul Soglin.

$15 million Imagination Center prioritizes community’s input and needs in planning for its construction in 2020

Ald. Samba Baldeh is gathering citizen input to help shape what will be known as the Imagination Center in the Northeast side of Madison. “The City is growing very very fast so it really was overdue for us to have a library in this area. It’s important that we have resources for after school programing that can cater the possibility of people of color who sometimes struggle after school to have a personal place to go,” Baldeh said. The Imagination Center has been a year in planning, receiving a budget of $500,000 last year for outreach to gather information on what citizens want to see in it.

“Scholars of Promise” Program Expands

Thanks to the new “Scholars of Promise” program, 150 students at Madison Area Technical College have access to new opportunities. Created by Madison College along with University of Wisconsin-Madison, qualifying students who complete their associate degree will be admitted to UW-Madison, free of cost, to continue pursuing their education. President of Madison College Dr. Jack Daniels and UW Chancellor Rebecca Blank finalized the groundbreaking decision. “Though financially disadvantaged, these individuals can now pursue the dream of a college degree and the career of their choice,” Daniels said. The first Scholars of Promise class is made up of “hard-working, resourceful and persistent” students, said Daniels.

What You Need to Know about the Spring Election

On April 3, Dane County will hold Spring Elections to elect state offices for Supreme Court Justice, Court of Appeals Judge, District IV, Circuit Court Judges, and two school board seats. Here is a brief overview of the positions and candidates voters will elect on Tuesday. 

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice

The Wisconsin Supreme Court is the final judge for cases in the state. The seven justices receive thousands of requests for hearings each year. The Court's job is to check the actions of the Governor, state assembly, the state police, and other government officials to make sure they do not overstep their powers. A justice would help to resolve national issues that reach the court systems such as women’s right to abortion or means of U.S. Citizenship. Michael Screnock

Campaign Website: https://www.judgescrenock.com/

Rebecca Dallet

Campaign Website: https://www.dalletforjustice.com/

Court of Appeals Judge, District IV

Appeals courts consist of three judges and do not use a jury.

One-on-One with the candidates for the Madison Board of Education: Gloria Reyes

Madison Commons reporter, Lauren Thill, interviewed three candidates for the Board of Education in Madison. We present the interviews unaltered in transcript form as part of a three-part series. In part three, we present the comments of Gloria Reyes who is running for Seat 1 against current board member Anna Moffit for the Spring Primary election on April 3. Reyes is currently Deputy Mayor for Public Safety, Civil Rights and Community Services. Can you talk about yourself and your experiences?

One-on-One with the candidates for the Madison Board of Education: Anna Moffit

Madison Commons reporter, Lauren Thill, interviewed the three candidates running for the Board of Education in Madison. We present the interviews unaltered in transcript form as part of a three-part series. In part two, we present the comments of Anna Moffit, who currently holds Seat 1 on the school board, and has served on the board since 2015. Moffit is running for re-election against Deputy Mayor Gloria Reyes for the Spring Primary election on April 3. Moffit works as a Parent Peer Specialist with Wisconsin Family Ties.

One-on-One with the candidates for the Madison Board of Education: Mary Burke

Madison Commons reporter, Lauren Thill, interviewed the three candidates running for the Board of Education in Madison. We present the interviews unaltered in transcript form as part of a three-part series. We begin with Mary Burke who currently holds Seat 2 on the school board, and has served on the board since 2012.  Burke is running unopposed for the Spring Primary election on April 3. Burke is the current CEO and founder of Building Brave, a nonprofit organization.