The Milwaukee public school system is jealously holding on to 20 vacant buildings and spending huge taxpayer sums to maintain them for one reason — to keep charter and private schools from purchasing them.
As a result, thousands of students are denied the chance to attend the school of their choice — high-performing schools that currently lack the classroom space. The brouhaha is the subject a new documentary, produced by EAG News called, “In Bad Faith: The Milwaukee Public Schools Protection Racket.”
If families who qualify for the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program could flee their neighborhood government school, many of them obviously would. More than 25,000 students already have fled the district, which has caused MPS’ [Milwaukee Public School’s] enrollment to crater. The attendance drop, in turn, has led to a surplus of school buildings the downsized district no longer needs.
But MPS leaders don’t want alternative schools using the empty buildings.
MPS officials believe that St. Marcus Lutheran and other high-quality voucher and charter schools pose an existential threat to the district, which is why they’ve devised a very clever plan to block the schools’ size and future growth by denying them access to the city’s vacant and unused school buildings
“MPS’s own records show that they spend over $1.5 million each year in just maintaining empty, unused school buildings – keeping them up to code, paying for the utility and maintenance costs,” C.J. Szafir, the education policy director for the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, says in the video. “That’s $1.5 million of taxpayer money, [and] the vast majority of it is completely unnecessary, because we know that choice and charter schools are interested in purchasing the buildings.”
Milwaukee Public School Board President Michael Bonds declined to be interviewed for the documentary. But he has said selling vacant public school buildings to charter or private schools is like “asking the Coca-Cola Co. to turn over its facilities to Pepsi.”
Well, no, it’s not. Pepsi and Coke are private, commercial enterprises. The education of America’s children is a public need — and we’re failing miserably at it.
Suddenly it’s no longer what’s best for the children — it’s now what’s best for the public school system, and the union members who work in them.
Watch the video, via EAG News, then check out “19 Senate Dems attack Hobby Lobby suit in Supreme Court brief.”
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