Another day, another story of a voucher school’s financial practices and academic performance being called into question.

The operator of one of Milwaukee’s longest-running private voucher schools says her organization strives to give disadvantaged children the best shot they can get in life, even when they’ve been left behind by other schools.

But new documents and former employees have raised concerns about the internal workings at Ceria M. Travis Academy, a private school that’s received more than $35 million in state voucher payments through the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program since 1996.

Complaints filed with the state in 2014 and obtained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel through an open records request allege that the school has violated state law by employing people without bachelor’s degrees to teach students.

And former and current staff members say the close-knit family business has crossed a number of other lines that, while not illegal under state statutes governing private voucher schools, may be holding children back from getting the kind of education they deserve.

They say Dorothy Travis Moore, the founder and CEO of Ceria M. Travis Academy Inc., employs an unusually high number of family members and that it’s hard to tell where the money for education goes, as classrooms lack adequate resources.

As noted in the Journal Sentinel report, a full report outlining salaries for staff at the Ceria M. Travis Academy is not available because the school is private; however federal nonprofit tax filings from 2012 list the compensation packages for Dorothy Travis Moore and her daughter Wilnekia Brinson at $213,000 and $118,000 respectively.

According to the Journal Sentinel’s report, the two schools operated by Dorothy Travis Moore will be receiving at least $4.6 million in voucher payments if enrollment holds at current levels, which seems to me to be a heck of a lot of money. So what kind of academic performance should Wisconsin taxpayers are getting for their $4.6 million “investment” in Dorothy Travis Moore’s voucher school? Well, last year only 2% of the students could read on grade level, while just 3% could do math on grade level.

Remind me again why conservatives are so keen on voucher schools?

16 Responses to Milwaukee voucher school receives $4.6 million in taxpayer dollars while only 2% of its students read at grade level

  1. Denis Navratil says:

    Zach, are there any truly awful public schools in this country? Of course there are. So why not write a story about the corruption, poor test scores, violence etc… at that school. Then pose the following question: Remind me again why liberals are so keen on public schools?

  2. Dohnal says:

    I ti is amazing how the Liberal white racists in wisocnsnin want to detroy the CHOICE program whic has been 90% effective. Most of the shcools are goof, soem very good while MPS has only 30% of the kids in 10th grade reading prodiciently.
    In any barrle ther ahve been some problems nd they get fixed cause parents are involved and pull their ids. Nothing ever gets fixed at MPS. The Liberal white racists chased Thronton out whowas actually a pretty good guy. The left, uions and Barret refuesed to back him in his work to fix MPS sp he left.
    The Left would love to detory these kids as they have hudnreds of thousands the last 40 years so they remain as vassals of th stte and vote right.

  3. Chris says:

    Zach, please write an article defending the majority of absolutely awful mps schools. How many billions… Billions with a B dollars have they sucked up NOT teaching our kids.

  4. judi says:

    WOW…I can see the KOCH BRIGADE is out in force today. The ignorance and hate is palpable. The Repub Machine has spent MILLIONS of taxpayer dollars in giveaways to the charter schools lobby, to the hinderment of all students…but it keeps the pockets of supporters filled.
    Name calling and mocking is the FIRST sign of a RWNJ..usually a troll with an agenda and Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio lead the march with the southern states right behind.

    Remind me again why liberals are so keen on public schools?…are you kidding me?? Public education has been helping this country for decades…our country was built on it. Now all the religious nut cases want to put GOD everywhere and teach creationism…on the taxpayer dollar, of course. This country is the laughing stock of the entire civilized world….our test scores are abysmal…..and the voucher system is part of the reason. THE REPUBLICAN PARTY DOES NOT WANT AN EDUCATED, CRITICAL THINKING CONSTITUENCY…..DUMB PEOPLE ARE EASIER TO DECEIVE AND LEAD AROUND BY THE NOSE. They are more accepting of the fact that they are being cheated right and left by the big-monied corporations…and will be just grateful for it. Oh, and yes, only THEIR white conservative kids NEED to be educated…so they can continue in their family’s footsteps of screwing over everybody else.

    The DeVos’ of AMWAY fame, Michelle Rhee and all the other Koch-backed “black money” groups are fighting tooth and nail to make our educational system the cesspool it has become.

  5. Jerry says:

    Ms. Moore should bring forth the facts about her schools if the Journal Sentinel story is not truthful. She was interviewed for the story and apparently didn’t want to share a lot about the successes her school is seeing. I have great trouble understanding how 1st graders learn to read with no textbooks or other books available in the classroom.

  6. Chris says:

    JOHN! I definitely support oligarchs!!! Go oligarchs!!! Fight fight fight!!!

    That other gibberish you are talking about… Nope. Oligarchs!!!!

  7. Edward Susterich says:

    Be sure to click on the link– very enlightening. It is a must-read for supporters of voucher schools. How many examples does one need to make a rational conclusion?

    http://media.jrn.com/documents/Ceria+M.+Travis+Request.pdf

  8. MaseMan says:

    No one is saying public schools are perfect (and everyone knows MPS has its own issues…gotta love how conservatives have to always bring that up immediately), but the voucher system hasn’t been shown to be effective in this state. To expand it and give them less oversight than public schools currently have doesn’t seem like a quality plan to improve education for our children.

  9. Chris says:

    Now I sees the light JOHN!

    Mps has more failing schools then all the voucher schools combined!

    Great link! Thank you JOHN

  10. EmmaR says:

    Such a lavish taxpayer-funded handout to this family. What the heck is up with Wisconsin’s charters? Nothing dynamic is happening here like a focus on learning through project curriculum or innovative use of technology or early immersion in languages or partnering with tech colleges. Instead we get religion, greed, and child molesters. But you know who is piloting and implementing innovative programs, technology, higher standards, and more? Wisconsin’s public schools. Great stuff here for the fiscally-responsible and reform-minded among us.

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