South Madison representatives heard from more than 20 residents during a Town Hall Meeting Saturday, Sept. 21.
State Representatives Shelia Stubbs and Jimmy Anderson and Madison Alders Tag Evers and Sheri Carter answered questions on education and affordable housing.
A group of roughly seven students from Simpson Street Free Press (SSFP), a news organization with content produced and published by students, were present at the meeting to ask representatives questions about education and funding for after school programs like SSFP.
“Reading scores in Mississippi are better than reading scores in Wisconsin, what is your plan?” a student asked.
Cristian Cruz, teen editor, liked how Evers acknowledged there was a reading crisis in Wisconsin, he later told Madison365. Cruz said reading scores for participants at SSFP are better than average reading scores and he would like to see more after school programs for students at MMSD.
“Out of school time is just as important as school time,” Cruz said.
Sarah Useche, editor for the SSFP bilingual paper La Prensa, said she appreciated Stubbs point, that representatives need to stop placating to families.
“I think (Stubbs) had a great point–not only do representatives have to listen to what we and parents want–but they have to listen to what we have to say and do something about it,” Useche said.
Stubbs asked rhetorically, how can Madison have a top 10 university, that is known all around the world but can’t help schools right down the road?
Ald. Evers responded to a constituents’ concern that Madison was losing residents to other cities because of a lack of affordable housing options. Evers said Microsoft plegded $500 million investment to Seattle for affordable housing initiatives.
“Microsoft came to Seattle in 1975, what year do you think (health care software company) Epic was founded in Madison?” Evers asked rhetorically. “1979.”
Microsoft recognized the role it played in driving up the market rate for houses, and maybe Dane County companies should consider doing the same, Evers said.
Overall, Cruz and Useche said were happy that the representatives were engaged with the community and answering the questions of the people they represent.