I know this may be nitpicky and maybe taken out of context…but during the recent hearing to determine whether or not to renew the charter of Kathryn T. Daniels Preparatory Academy, Milwaukee Public School Superintendent Darienne Driver added this to the discussion:
Driver said Thursday that the district has an obligation to work with its “charter partners,” and that Holy Redeemer could take the school to another charter authorizer or one of the state’s private voucher programs if MPS severed its contract, moves that would hurt the district’s bottom line [ed: emphasis mine].
After much discussion, the board decided to extend the Daniels school charter for two more years. And there were good reasons to extend the charter and good reasons to terminate it. And I understand the pressures on the MPS budget. Between property tax caps, vagaries in state funding, and the insane rules around charter and voucher schools, MPS needs to account for ever dime they receive. Both MPS and its charter institutions have just a few schools that are successfully educating Milwaukee’s children. The same applies to most of the voucher schools. Student achievement outlooks across the board aren’t very good and aren’t improving at an appreciable rate.
The continued support of a school should depend on its current success, its chances for improvement and whether it is living up to its charter. I would hope we aren’t making decisions wholly on whether closing it ‘would hurt the district’s bottom line’. Superintendent Driver knows better…