Madison Metropolitan School District, Wisconsin

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Madison Metropolitan School District
Madison, Wisconsin
Madison Metropolitan School District logo.jpg
District Profile
Superintendent:Jennifer Cheatham
Graduation rate:74.6%[2]
Number of schools:49
Budget: $402.2 million
Website:School Home Page
Board of Education
Board president:Ed Hughes
Board members:7
Term length:3
Madison Metropolitan School District is a school district in Wisconsin that served 27,295 K-12 students during the 2013-2014 school year.[1] The district slightly improved graduation rates from 73.7 percent during the 2010-2011 school year to 74.6 percent during the 2011-2012 school year.[2] This improvement coincided with a 7.9 percent jump in enrollment over the same period.[1]

About the district

Madison Metropolitan School District is located in Madison, Wis.
Madison Metropolitan School District is located in Madison in south-central Wisconsin. Madison is the county seat of Dane County and the capital of Wisconsin. Madison is home to 240,323 residents, according to the United States Census Bureau.[3] During the 2011-2012 school year, Madison Metropolitan School District was the second-largest school district in Wisconsin and served 24,806 students.[4]


Higher education achievement

Madison outperformed the rest of Wisconsin in terms of higher education achievement in 2012. The United States Census Bureau found that 53.3 percent of Madison residents aged 25 years and older had attained a bachelor's degree compared to 26.4 percent for Wisconsin as a whole.[3]

Median household income

From 2008 through 2012, the median household income in Madison was $53,958, compared to $52,627 for the state of Wisconsin.[3]

Poverty rate

The poverty rate in Madison was 18.5 percent from 2008 through 2012. During that same time period, the poverty rate for the entire state was 12.5 percent.[3]

Racial and political demographics

Racial Demographics, 2010[3]
Race Madison (%) Wisconsin (%)
White 78.9 86.2
Black or African American 7.3 6.3
American Indian and Alaska Native 0.4 1.0
Asian 7.4 2.3
Two or More Races 3.1 1.8
Hispanic or Latino 6.8 5.9

Presidential votes, 2000-2012[5]
Year Democratic vote (%) Republican vote (%)
2012 61.1 32.5
2008 66.0 32.9
2004 72.8 25.8
2000 71.0 27.5

Note: Each column will add up to 100 percent after removing the "Hispanic or Latino" percentage, although rounding by the Census Bureau may make the total one- or two-tenths off. Read more about race and ethnicity in the Census here.[6]


The superintendent of Madison Metropolitan School District during the 2013-2014 school year was Jennifer Cheatham. She has served in the position since her appointment in 2013. Cheatham previously served as an administrator with San Diego Unified School District and Chicago Public Schools.[7] She was offered an annual salary of $235,000 by the board of education.[8]

School board

The Madison Metropolitan Board of Education consists of seven members elected to three-year terms. Each member is elected to a specific seat number that represents a specific group of schools.[9]

Madison Metropolitan Board of Education
Member Seat Term Ends
Arlene Silveira 1 2015
Mary Burke 2 2015
Dean Luomos 3 2016
James Howard 4 2016
TJ Mertz 5 2016
Michael Flores 6 2017
Ed Hughes 7 2017

Governing majority

The Madison Board of Education voted unanimously on 89.7 percent of its votes between January 1, 2014, and July 1, 2014. Out of all votes recorded by the board, 94.9 percent passed.

  • When the board did not vote unanimously:
    • Half of the votes did not pass.
    • Mary Burke and James Howard voted together 100 percent of the time. Beyond them, there was no clear pattern or alignment between the board members on non-unanimous votes.
    • No board member voted "no" on more than three proposals.
    • Michael Flores, who was first elected in April 2014, did not vote "no" on any proposals.

The voting data indicates that there is no clear governing majority or minority faction on the board. No individual board member's voting record differs significantly from that of the other board members.[10]

School board elections

See also: Madison Metropolitan School District elections (2015)

Members of the Madison Metropolitan Board of Education are elected to three-year terms on a staggered basis. Two seats were up for election on April 1, 2014. Two seats were up for election on April 7, 2015, and three seats will be on the ballot in April 2016.

Public participation in board meetings

The Board of Education maintains the following policy regarding public participation in board meetings, which was last updated in 2013:

The public is invited to register and speak at BOARD regular, special, and work group meetings as listed in the agenda and at hearings called by the BOARD on special topics. See BOARD Policy 1221.
  • Any individual may register with the SUPERINTENDENT or his/her designee beginning fifteen (15) minutes before the time scheduled for a regular or special BOARD meeting or a BOARD work group meeting, or thirty minutes (30) before the time scheduled for a public hearing. Speakers may not register prior to the official opening of registration. Registration will continue until the meeting is called to order. Appearances after this point will be at the discretion of the chairperson.
  • During the regular BOARD agenda, an individual who registers shall be given up to three minutes to speak to the BOARD. Extensions may be granted only by approval of the BOARD or committee.
  • During a special BOARD meeting, BOARD work group meeting, or during a Public Hearing, an individual who registers to speak shall be given up to three minutes to speak to the BOARD or BOARD committee. Extensions may be granted only by approval of the BOARD or committee.
  • A speaker may be registered by a designee but the speaker must be present when he or she is called to appear or forfeit his or her time.
  • Speakers must place the full address of their place of residence on registration forms.
  • Registration forms will allow citizens not wishing to speak an opportunity to express an opinion. All BOARD members will read these opinions.
  • Registrants will be called to speak according to the order in which they have registered.
  • Public appearances at regular or special BOARD meetings and work group meetings will be permitted at the point of the meeting as indicated in the meeting notice/agenda (usually after the approval of minutes).
  • An individual may speak one time during any period for public appearances that is noticed for any meeting.
    • If work groups meet in succession on the same date, a single period for public appearances at or near the start of the meetings may be provided, and an individual registrant may speak one time during said period.
    • No registrant or other individual is entitled to grant any portion of his or her speaking time to another registrant. This is not intended to prohibit the use of a translator or other person providing assistance to an individual registrant who requires such assistance.
    • To the extent a single registrant or multiple registrants bring a prepared written statement to read during public appearances that would take longer than three minutes to read in its entirety, the BOARD strongly encourages a single speaker to summarize the main points of the written statement and then submit a copy of the full written statement to be added to the record of the meeting and to be distributed to each Board Member.
  • Registrants for public appearances at the monthly regular meeting of the School BOARD will normally be permitted to speak on any item, not necessarily limited to the agenda prepared for the meeting. Registrants at other BOARD or work group meetings or at public hearings on specific topics must limit comments to items on the agenda of the meeting or to the topic of the hearing. Permission to speak on another item will be at the discretion of the chairperson(s).
  • Action will not be taken on public appearances (requests) during the same meeting as presented unless the public appearance is associated with an item of business already on the agenda for the meeting and for which adequate public notice was given in advance of the meeting.
  • When appropriate, issues raised during public appearances will be referred to the SUPERINTENDENT and/or an appropriate committee for study and for future report to the BOARD. Public appearances are not intended as a forum for identifying, presenting or processing complaints or grievances against individual staff members, and concerns relating to individual personnel matters should initially be brought to the attention of the staff member's immediate supervisor and/or submitted as a complaint to the District administrative offices.
  • At the discretion of the BOARD PRESIDENT, public appearances may be omitted from a special BOARD meeting or may be limited to a specific period of time, as stated or identified on the meeting notice/agenda. At any meeting where public appearances are identified on the meeting notice/agenda, the period for public appearances may be further limited at the meeting only by majority vote of the Board or committee. Examples of reasons for excluding or limiting public appearances as part of a BOARD or work group meeting include but are not limited to situations in which a public hearing on the subject matter has been or will be scheduled, the BOARD or BOARD work group workshop, time limitations associated with the meeting do not allow for an extended period of public presentations, etc. Any member of the public who is unable to offer his/her comments through a public appearance at a BOARD or work group meeting shall be entitled to submit written comments to the BOARD Members.[11][12]

—MMSD Policies and Procedures, (2013)


The Madison Metropolitan School District's budget is published on its website. Details on the district's revenue and expenditures in recent years can be found in the tables below. The following charts show the percentages of revenue and expenditures by type for the 2014-2015 school year.[13]




From 2011 to 2015, the district's revenues increased by 28.6 percent. Though federal aid decreased during this time period, both state and local aid increased.

Revenue by Category
School Year Local Other School Districts State Aid Federal Aid Other Revenue Total
Total % of Revenue Total % of Revenue Total % of Revenue Total % of Revenue Total % of Revenue
2011-2012 $226,120,781 72.3% $79,558 0% $14,866,248 4.8% $1,063,020 0.3% $70,532,230 22.6% $312,661,837
2012-2013 $231,613,481 71.7% $300,000 0.1% $57,943,567 17.9% $684,310 0.2% $32,620,222 10.1% $323,161,580
2013-2014 $240,412,967 74.6% $300,000 0.1% $49,634,685 15.4% $48,765 0% $32,067,199 9.9% $322,463,616
2014-2015 $272,746,066 67.8% $2,319,740 0.6% $96,370,506 24% $29,665,011 7.4% $1,039,418 0.3% $402,140,741
Averages: $242,723,323.75 71% $749,824.5 0% $54,703,751.5 16% $7,865,276.5 2% $34,064,767.25 10% $340,106,943.5


From 2011 to 2015, the district's total expenditures increased by 30.2 percent. Expenditures on staff expenses, students services and operational expenses all increased.

Expenditures by Category
School Year Staff Expenses Student Services Operational Expenses Debt Service Other Budget Total
Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget Total % of Budget
2011-2012 $147,444,948 47.7% $10,415,528 3.4% $98,084,666 31.7% $155,227 0.1% $52,865,415 17.1% $308,965,784
2012-2013 $157,561,910 48% $11,563,274 3.5% $109,160,166 33.2% $152,409 0% $50,138,462 15.3% $328,576,221
2013-2014 $157,203,217 48.3% $12,478,886 3.8% $100,181,101 30.8% $152,114 0% $55,541,943 17.1% $325,557,261
2014-2015 $148,158,921 36.8% $11,829,449 2.9% $234,560,231 58.3% $0 0% $7,716,652 1.9% $402,265,253
Averages: $152,592,249 45% $11,571,784.25 3% $135,496,541 40% $114,937.5 0% $41,565,618 12% $341,341,129.75

Teacher salaries

Teacher salaries at Madison Metropolitan School District are categorized based on higher education achievement and years of service. A teacher with a bachelor's degree can earn higher salaries by pursuing graduate degrees. The salary schedule also accounts for graduate degrees by providing higher starting salaries and greater potential salaries. The following table lists salaries for district teachers during the 2012-2013 school year:[14]

Salary structure
Degree level Minimum salary ($) Maximum salary ($)
B.A. 33,575 69,162
B.A. 12 34,197 70,243
B.A. 24 34,819 71,323
MA 36,684 76,992
MA 12 37,306 84,918
MA 24 37,927 86,050
MA 48 39,793 88,314
Ph.D. 41,036 90,579


Teachers in Madison Metropolitan School District are represented by Madison Teachers Inc. (MTI). The president of MTI for the 2014-2015 school year is Mike Lipp.[15]

Schools in Madison Metropolitan School District


The district served 27,295 K-12 students during the 2013-2014 school year. The district experienced a 10.1 percent increase in enrollment between 2009 and 2013. The following chart details enrollment in the district between 2009 and 2013:[1]

Total enrollment
Year Enrollment Year-to-year change (%)
2009 24,779 -
2010 24,965 0.7
2011 26,955 7.9
2012 27,245 1.0
2013 27,295 0.1

District schools

Madison Metropolitan School District operates 49 K-12 schools, which are listed below in alphabetical order:[16]

Madison Metropolitan School District
Allis Elementary School
Badger Rock Middle School
Black Hawk Middle School
Chavez Elementary School
Cherokee Middle School
Crestwood Elementary School
East High School
Elvehjem Elementary School
Emerson Elementary School
Falk Elementary School
Franklin Elementary School
Glendale Elementary School
Gompers Elementary School
Hamilton Middle School
Hawthorne Elementary School
Huegel Elementary School
Jefferson Middle School
Kennedy Elementary School
La Follette High School
Lake View Elementary School
Lapham Elementary School
Leopold Elementary School
Lincoln Elementary School
Lindbergh Elementary School
Lowell Elementary School
Marquette Elementary School
Memorial High School
Mendota Elementary School
Midvale Elementary School
Muir Elementary School
Nuestro Mundo Elementary School
O'Keeffe Middle School
Olson Elementary School
Orchard Ridge Elementary School
Randall Elementary School
Sandburg Elementary School
Schenck Elementary School
Sennett Middle School
Shabazz High School
Sherman Middle School
Shorewood Elementary School
Spring Harbor Middle School
Stephens Elementary School
Thoreau Elementary School
Toki Middle School
Van Hise Elementary School
West High School
Whitehorse Middle School
Wright Middle School

Academic performance

See also: Public education in Wisconsin
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Education policy in the U.S.
Public education in the U.S.
School choice in the U.S.
Charter schools in the U.S.
Higher education in the U.S.
State public education information
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Glossary of education terms
Education statistics
See also

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction administers annual Wisconsin Student Assessment System (WSAS) tests to students throughout the state. These tests assess proficiency in math and reading among students in grades three through eight as well as tenth grade. WSAS tests also evaluate proficiency in language arts, science and social studies at grades four, eight and ten. The Department of Public Instruction publishes results from WSAS tests as part of each district's Annual District Report Card.[17]

The Annual District Report Card compares district performance with state performance based on four criteria:[17]

  • Student Achievement: This category compares reading and math performance by district students to state and national standards.
  • Student Growth: This category compares year-to-year performance on reading and math sections in WSAS tests.
  • Closing Gaps: This category compares test performance by low-performing groups in the district to similar cohorts across the state.
  • On-Track and Postsecondary Readiness: This category uses benchmarks including ACT scores, graduation rate, attendance rate and math achievement to assess post-graduate preparedness.

Madison Metropolitan School District achieved an overall score of 69.8 during the 2013-2014 school year. The district's overall score led to a "Meets Expectations" designation from the Department of Public Instruction. The following table compares district performance with state performance according to the 2013-2014 Annual District Report Card:[17]

Annual District Report Card Grades, 2013-2014
Category District score State score
Student Achievement 62.8 66.4
Student Growth 68.3 62.4
Closing Gaps 65.1 66.3
On-track and Postsecondary Readiness 83.0 85.3

Accountability ratings for schools in the district, 2013-2014
Category Number of schools Percentage of schools
Significantly exceeds expectations 4 7.5%
Exceeds expectations 14 26.4%
Meets expectations 22 41.5%
Meets few expectations 8 15.1%
Fails to meet expectations 0 0.0%
Alternate Accountability - Satisfactory Progress 5 9.4%
Alternate Accountability - Needs Improvement 0 0.0%

Historical data

The state's Annual District Report Card includes a review of district and state proficiency information in mathematics and reading for the previous five years. This review includes data from the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination (WKCE) and the Wisconsin Alternate Assessment for Students with Disabilities (WAA-SwD) for students from grades three through eight and 10. The following tables compare the district's percentage of proficient and advanced proficient students with state levels from the 2008-2009 school year through the 2013-2014 school year:[17]

Mathematics proficiency comparisons, 2008-2013
School year District proficiency rate (%) State proficiency rate (%)
2008-2009 46.0 45.2
2009-2010 47.1 47.0
2010-2011 47.2 46.8
2011-2012 45.9 48.3
2012-2013 46.3 48.2
2013-2014 45.5 48.8

Reading proficiency comparisons, 2008-2013
School year District proficiency rate (%) State proficiency rate (%)
2008-2009 38.3 35.3
2009-2010 37.6 35.7
2010-2011 38.8 35.7
2011-2012 37.0 36.0
2012-2013 37.4 36.4
2013-2014 37.9 36.7


Students protest Tony Robinson shooting with school district's blessing

“Justice for Tony,” more than 1,500 students chanted as they left their schools on March 9, 2015, to protest the shooting of Tony Robinson, an unarmed biracial 19-year-old, by a Madison police officer. Middle school, high school and college students converged on the City-County Building to demand a meeting with the city's mayor Paul Soglin and Police Chief Mike Koval.[18]

Madison Metropolitan School District officials allowed students to attend the rally with parental permission. They also asked community leaders to join the students to help ensure their safety and provided seven buses to take students back to school after the rally. Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham also attended the rally.[18]

“In general, we thought it was important that if students chose to demonstrate, that we ensure they are safe and provide positive adult presence to support our students as they express their concerns, grief and questions,” said district spokeswoman Rachel Strauch-Nelson.[18]

Few details have been released about the shooting, but according to police, Robinson assaulted police officer Matt Kenny on March 6, 2015. The two were inside a second-story apartment, and Kenny received minor injuries before fatally shooting Robinson. Kenny had been following a call about an assault, including someone who was “yelling and jumping in front of cars.”[18]

A state law requires officer-involved deaths to be conducted by an outside investigation. The state Division of Criminal Investigation is leading the inquiry into Robinson's death.[18]

Hundreds of students again walked out of school on April 14, 2015, as part of the National Day of Action. They took to the streets shouting "No justice! No peace! No racist police!" They were protesting officer-involved shootings across the country, including the death of Tony Robinson.[19]

The Madison Metropolitan School District issued a statement regarding the students' walk out. "While we understand students' needs to have their voices heard, we do encourage students to stay in school during the school day as to not negatively impact instructional time. We also want you to know that we are continuing to provide opportunities within school for students to talk about what happened, express their feelings and respectfully consider all perspectives," the statement said.[19]

Superintendents write to state government over proposed budget cuts

Madison Metropolitan Superintendent Jen Cheatham signed a letter with 18 other superintendents across the state, asking the Governor of Wisconsin and the State Legislature for a consistent funding plan. The letter was written in February 2015 in response to the budget proposed by Gov. Scott Walker (R) in earlier in the year that called for a reduction in per-student funding by $150 for the 2015-2016 school year and an addition of $165 per student for the 2016-2017 school year.[20]

In the letter, the superintendents discussed their concerns that such a budget cut would require cutting staff, salaries or benefits in order for their districts to stay afloat, which they worried would make it nearly impossible to retain talented teachers. They said they believed inflationary growth was necessary to maintain and grow their educational programs.[20]

Walker's call to change the state's assessment system and allow districts to choose their own assessments from a state-approved list was also mentioned in the superintendent's letter. They asked the state government for one assessment system, saying an accountability system consisting of different assessments would create confusion.[20] The full letter can be found here.

$41 million referendum goes to ballot

Residents of Madison, Wisconsin will be asked to approve a $41 million referendum in the school board elections on April 7, 2015. The Madison Metropolitan Board of Education approved the referendum question on December 15, 2014. If approved, the majority of the money, $39 million, would be used for additions and improved accessibility renovations for over a dozen schools. The remaining $2 million would be used for improving technology. The cost of the referendum would raise homeowners' taxes by approximately $63.[21][22]

Validity of contracts questioned after Act 10 ruling

The Madison Metropolitan School District and Madison Teachers Inc., the district's teachers union, said their labor contracts are valid through June 2016, despite the fact that the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld Act 10, a collective bargaining bill that cut back the bargaining rights of public employees, on July 31, 2014. According to Rick Esenberg, founder and general counsel of the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, however, those contracts could be questioned in court, as any contract containing provisions barred under Act 10 could be seen as illegal. Though Act 10 allows only bargaining for pay increases, the district's labor contracts through 2016 also included workplace policies, such as job transfers and paycheck withholding.[23][24]

Legal counsel to the Madison Metropolitan Board of Education was at odds with Esenberg, advising that the contracts would remain valid no matter the court's ruling on Act 10 as they were entered into before Act 10 became effective.[24]

The dispute will have to be settled in court as the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, on behalf of Madison resident David Blaska, filed a lawsuit against the district on September 11, 2014. The lawsuit claims taxpayer money was illegally spent in different parts of the district's employee contracts. Marcia Standiford, communications director for the district, says the district administration believes it was on solid ground when the contracts were negotiated.[25]

In October 2014, district officials and union leaders asked the Dane County Circuit Court to strike out portions of the lawsuit that referred to union dues and fair share payments, as Blaska was not a teacher or employee of the district. According to district officials, that meant he had no factual standing to make those specific allegations in the lawsuit.[26]

Debate over Tech Plan

Rival community groups in Madison debated the virtues of the district's five-year Tech Plan proposal during school board meetings in January 2014. The $31 million Tech Plan proposed incorporating enough computers into area schools to ensure one-on-one instruction, which would increase annual expenses from $1.5 million during the 2013-2014 school year to $8.4 million during the 2018-2019 school year.[27]

The School-Community Alliance for Public Education (SCAPE) advocated for a more thorough review of the program by the board. SCAPE believed that the annual cost of the Tech Plan deserved greater scrutiny by district residents. The group also suggested that one-on-one computing might not be valuable enough for K-3 students to warrant higher expenses.[27]

The Leopold Parent-Faculty Organization supported implementation of the Tech Plan based on their own experiences with one-on-one computing. The organization raised private funds to purchase iPads and other technology for students in south side schools. Organizers noted the broad popularity of this initial investment and expressed concern about the district's outdated technology infrastructure.[27]

The school board pre-approved the Tech Plan on April 28, 2014.[28]

Contact information

Madison Metropolitan School District logo.jpg
Madison Metropolitan School District
545 West Dayton Street
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 663-1659

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, "Wisconsin Information System for Education," accessed February 4, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, "High school completion rates," accessed February 4, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 United States Census Bureau, "Madison, Wisconsin," accessed January 27, 2014
  4. National Center for Education Statistics, "ELSI Table Generator," accessed January 27, 2014
  5. Dane County Clerk's Office, "Election Results," accessed January 27, 2014
  6. United States Census Bureau, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed April 21, 2014
  7. The Daily Page, "Jennifer Cheatham takes charge of Madison schools," October 3, 2013
  8. Wisconsin State Journal, "Madison school superintendent Jennifer Cheatham offered $235K salary," February 22, 2013
  9. Madison Metropolitan School District, "Organization," accessed February 5, 2014
  10. Madison Metropolitan School District, "Regular Meetings," accessed August 27, 2014
  11. Madison Metropolitan School District, "Public Appearances," August 26, 2013
  12. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  13. Madison Metropolitan School District, "Proposed Expenditure by Fund," accessed December 16, 2014
  14. Madison Teachers Inc., "Collective Bargaining Agreement 2013-2014," accessed February 4, 2014
  15. Madison Teachers Inc., "Teachers and Professional Staff," accessed February 4, 2014
  16. Madison Metropolitan School District, "School Start and Dismissal Times," accessed February 4, 2014
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, "Report Cards," accessed February 5, 2014
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 Wisconsin State Journal, "Tony Robinson shooting protest at Capitol draws 1,500, many of them students," March 10, 2015
  19. 19.0 19.1 WKOW, "UPDATE: Arrests follow protest during National Day of Action," April 14, 2015
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 NBC 15, "Superintendents send letter to lawmakers over budget concerns," February 18, 2015
  21. WKOW, "$41M referendum question up for vote in Madison Metropolitan School District," December 16, 2014
  22. Madison Metropolitan School District, "Referendum on School Facilities," accessed January 19, 2015
  23., "Madison teachers' union leader: Act 10 ruling ‘morally bankrupt,’" July 31, 2014
  24. 24.0 24.1 The Cap Times, "Madison school district, teachers union say labor contracts still valid after Act 10 ruling," August 1, 2014
  25. The Badger Herald, "Madison School District faces collective bargaining lawsuit," September 15, 2014
  26. The Cap Times, "Madison school officials, MTI say claims regarding union dues, teachers' rights don't belong in Act 10 lawsuit," October 9, 2014
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2, "Parents ask what's the rush on Madison schools' $31 million tech plan," January 22, 2014
  28., "UPDATED: MMSD Board pre-approves budget items/technology plan," May 19, 2014