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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Saturday, December 03, 2005


(Yes, I'm in Canada, but I'm still subjecting myself to the Milwaukee paper. Yes, the paper's website is as slow and clunky froj up here.)

What's that, you say? That first year school in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program wasn't providing an education? Really? You mean the one run by the guy whose previous choice school was shut down for rioting? Nooooo, couldn't be.

Well, it is:
Students regularly smoked pot, skipped school and shot dice without fear of punishment, a group of former teachers and administrators at the troubled Northside High School alleges in interviews with the Journal Sentinel and a letter to state officials. [. . .]

In a letter to state officials, [a teacher] and four other former employees alleged that Brooks padded student counts at the school and refused to allow staff and teachers to call the police if they feared for their safety. [. . .] At another point in the letter, they added: "Even after suspending, or expelling students Mr. Brooks would always bring them back in and tell us 'That's my money,' 'You (expletive) with my money,' 'Leave these students alone as long as they are not KILLING YOU.' "As a result of the letter, the state's Department of Public Instruction has asked the Milwaukee County district attorney's office to review the letter and possibly investigate Northside. Assistant District Attorney David Feiss said Friday afternoon that he received the letter. [. . .]

The state has already taken steps against Northside, notifying leaders there in November that it would not receive any more state payments because it does not meet the standards to be considered a private school.

Northside opened this fall through the voucher program, which allows private schools to receive public money from tuition vouchers for low-income students. Brooks, a former administrator at Academic Solutions, a voucher school closed down by the state last school year, is chief executive officer. Northside is at 4840 W. Fond du Lac Ave., the former site of Academic Solutions. [. . .]

A hearing is scheduled for next Friday in Madison on the Department of Public Instruction's decision not to make any more payments to Northside. In a letter to DPI, Brooks wrote that the school "strongly disagrees with the department's determination and therefore requests a hearing on the matter." Northside received a voucher payment from the state of $309,611.25 in September, which was based on having 194 qualifying students, according to the DPI. Payments are made four times a year. The state withheld November payments (the second round) from five schools, including Northside.
So, what do we say? Lift the Cap! Obviously, we need more like this . . .

In unrelated but equally disheartening and creepy school news: I worked with this guy for a year. [shudder]

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