WILL Press Release | WILL Statement on Milwaukee Common Council Vacant Schools Vote

Council approves five private and charter schools to be education operators; begins process for purchase of empty MPS schools

April 15, 2016 – Milwaukee, WI – Today the Milwaukee Common Council voted to approve five private and charter schools to be education operators, allowing them to start the process to purchase empty MPS school buildings, under the new state law.  WILL had previously cautioned the Common Council, warning them of the consequences for failure to act by April 25.

“Although it took longer than it should have, we are glad to see the Common Council do its job, follow state law, and allow charter and private schools to purchase the numerous vacant school buildings,” said CJ Szafir, WILL vice president for policy and deputy counsel.

“As we have said since day one, MPS Superintendent Darienne Driver is not eligible to purchase the vacant school buildings.  Instead of trying so hard to keep MPS’ empty buildings, she should focus more on improving the struggling MPS system.”  The Common Council did not approve Superintendent Driver’s letter of interest to obtain all empty school buildings.

Risen Savior Lutheran School (WILL client), Rocketship Academy, Right Step, Pilgrim Baptist Church, and Penfield Children’s Center were all approved as education operators.  The Common Council must now, among other things, negotiate a reasonable purchase for the buildings.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty will continue to closely monitor the implementation of this significant law.

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