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?