The City of Milwaukee’s Board of Zoning Appeals has denied a permit for Right Step to purchase a vacant MPS school. Right Step is a military style program that emphasises discipline and regime and specializes in serving students and families that have struggled in traditional public schools. They sought to purchase a building from the City of Milwaukee/Milwaukee Public Schools – which has been reluctant in the past to divest itself of vacant buildings.
The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty represented Right Step through the process and it now appears that the City has denied these struggling students a backstop. From the article in today’s Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
“Board members opposed the special-use permit 4-0 because, they said, the school didn’t fit with plans for the area. The vote drew applause from Riverwest neighbors and public-school advocates in the audience who opposed the voucher school’s expansion. CJ Szafir, a lawyer for the conservative Wisconsin Institute of Law and Liberty who helped represent Right Step, said he was deeply disappointed and that the vote wasn’t really about congestion and traffic patterns at all.
“This was ultimately because it was a private school in the choice program, and the union folks and City Council members in favor of the status quo wanted to prevent this private school from getting the building,” Szafir said. “Now they get to keep a vacant building a little bit longer.””