One of the biggest arguments made against public dollars funding privately run voucher schools is the fact that there is no public accountability for the decisions made with those dollars. Take for example the Milwaukee North Side voucher school Institute for Technology and Academics, which wants to expand its operation into a Northridge neighborhood strip mall that also houses a liquor store.
A democratically elected school board wouldn’t dare put the district’s youngest learners (K-5) in this kind of an environment because they know the voters would hold them accountable, but for a private third party operator who is to say you can’t set up school next to a liquor store? Thankfully in this case, the school must change the way the building is zoned before they can occupy, which means they have to get any zoning switch past the Milwaukee Board of Zoning Appeals (BOZA). This is where this crazy idea needs to end!
BOZA will be taking up this expansion decision on Thursday, October 6th at 4:30pm at Milwaukee City Hall:
4:30 p.m. Public Hearings Please note that each item scheduled for a public hearing has been scheduled for approximately five to ten minutes. If an item takes longer than its allotted time, the item may be adjourned to the next available hearing date.Item #56 Institute of Technology & Academics, Lessee
8625 W. Brown Deer Road
Request to occupy a portion of the premises as an elementary school for 150 students grades K4 – 5, operating Monday – Friday 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m
Where will these students play? As the photo below shows, there is no playground, but only a busy parking lot on an even busier street (Brown Deer Road). BOZA needs to hear from Northridge neighbors on why this location is not safe for Milwaukee students. Please testify if you can or send your testimony to BOZA before the meeting. You can also send any written statements to us in the comments of this blog.
BOZA will also be rendering a decision on whether a military-style voucher school can occupy an MPS building in a Milwaukee neighborhood at 4pm on Thursday, October 6th as well so come and defend public education on both counts.