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DPI announces school-funding numbers

DPI announces school-funding numbers

The Department of Public Instruction released school-funding numbers Tuesday, and 183 districts will see an increase in state aid. Another 239 districts, including the Madison Metropolitan School District, will see a decrease in state aid.

Total aid given to districts has increased by a total of $47.9 million from the last school year bringing the total school funding budget to $4.342 billion, according to a release.

Funding for Madison will drop 14.5 percent compared to last year. The district will get $49.9 million from the state, which is about $9 million less than last year.

Forum to highlight discussion on 'shadow' schools, education budgets

Forum to highlight discussion on 'shadow' schools, education budgets

Two local volunteer groups plan to sponsor a public conversation with area leaders on education next week.

Wisconsin State Senators Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma, and Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center, are among area leaders participating in "How Many Kids Left Behind? An Interactive Community Conversation on the Future of Our Public Schools" at the Middleton Performing Arts Center, 2100 Bristol St., on Sept. 5.

The forum, which begins at 7 p.m., is free and open to the public.

At the 90-minute event, panelists will discuss topics including the state of the education budget, the “shadow” school system (including vouchers and charter schools), and the needs of rural districts.

City-run youth center closes after 3 years

After nearly three years as a city-run program, the Middleton Youth Resource Center was closed this week.

The city announced in a news release Thursday afternoon that the center is no longer in operation effective Tuesday.

The city said the Middleton Personnel, Finance, and Council approved the closure at a meeting Tuesday. The council approved the recommendation from the Commission on Youth for the remaining 2013 funds to go toward Recreation Department programming for fifth to eighth graders.

Youth program director Angela Fettes said the Middleton recreation department began the program in 2010 following the dissolution of a similar youth recreation program.

Fettes said the current program was discontinued due to dropping attendance.

“I’m horribly sad to see the program end,” Fettes said. She said she would be sharing the news with the kids tonight.

Officials explain Middleton Street road construction delay

Officials explain Middleton Street road construction delay

Several delays caused by rains earlier in the season and a design flaw discovered during construction have delayed construction on Middleton Street, according to a release.

Officials said during construction it was discovered that a storm sewer control valve was not included in the design and the contractor had to special order a manhole to accommodate the new valve.

The manhole is expected to be delivered by early next week, according to the release.

The road will continue to be accessible to vehicles and until asphalt is put down the contractor will water the gravel as needed to help control dust, according to the release.

Officials said they understand the delay is frustrating and want to thank residents for their patience through the completion of the project.

Below is a tentative schedule for completion of the project:

Finished section of Pheasant Branch Creek trail links to golf course

A key missing link in Middleton’s South Fork Trail was completed on Friday, according to the city.

The finished section makes it possible for bicyclists and pedestrians to travel between Greenway Center and the golf course property without having to use Pleasant View Road, according to a release from Middleton Wednesday.

Prior to last week, trail users could only travel along the South Fork of Pheasant Branch Creek to Greenway Boulevard next to Raven Software. 

Starting in early August, the city said it will initiate a project to complete the one-block gap in the South Fork Trail between Terrace Avenue (near Esser Pond) and University Avenue. 

The city said it plans to complete the block in October, and bicyclists and pedestrians will then be able to travel entirely via trails between northeast Middleton (near Orchid Heights Park) and Pleasant View Golf Course, a distance of more than five miles.

Middleton officials make parking enforcement a priority for visitors, shoppers

Middleton officials make parking enforcement a priority for visitors, shoppers

Middleton officials make parking enforcement a priority to provide visitors and customers with parking for downtown businesses, according to a release.

A parking study commissioned by the Middleton City Council indicated the lack of enforcement was the primary reason for the lack of parking at peak times in the downtown area, according to the release.

Mike Davis, Middleton city administrator and director of community development, said the follow-up may help the city avoid putting in a parking ramp with annual maintenance costs.

Officials said the primary goal is to provide visitors and customers with available parking to patronize downtown businesses and to seek city services without having to drive out of the way.

Good turnover in parking is key to that goal, officials said. They hope downtown business owners and employees will seek more remote parking.

MCPASD: Nearly $30K in energy costs saved over 10 months

The Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District is on track to to far exceed its best year-end energy savings performance, Energy Manager Neal Bickler said.

According to the district's June 2013 report, which covers the performance of all MCPASD buildings in May, the cost avoidance savings is $29,894. This exceeds the district's previous best June report of $23,911 (18.73 percent), which occurred in 2012.

For the school year, the district said it has saved $319,212 (24.33 percent).

"With two months remaining in 2012-2013, I'm hoping that we can reach the $340,000 plateau," Bickler said.

In 2012, MCPASD saved $278,865 (22.71 percent) during the same 10-month span. The district reported it has avoided paying nearly $2.4 million since September 2004.