Following is a summary of the proposed legislation by Senator Alberta Darling. This new attempt to colonize, privatize and destroy public schools in Wisconsin is aligned with the attempt by St. Marcus Lutheran School to take control of the Malcolm X building. This is another attack designed and orchestrated by the right-wing privatization/voucher proponents.
The summary of the Bill starts with-
Under current law, the city of Milwaukee (city) owns the school buildings and school grounds of the Milwaukee Public School (MPS) District. Generally, city-owned property used for school purposes may be sold only upon the written request of the MPS board and if the Milwaukee Common Council adopts a resolution approving the sale. However, if the common council finds that city-owned property used for school purposes has been unused or underutilized for at least 12 consecutive months, or if the MPS board has determined by resolution prior to January 1, 2011, that any city-owned property used for school purposes is surplus to the needs of the district, the common council may sell or lease that property if it adopts a resolution to do so. If the city sells or leases property identified as underutilized or surplus, the net proceeds must be deposited into the school operations fund, which is used to pay the principal, fees, and premiums due on bonds issued for school facilities.
This bill creates an additional mechanism for the sale of certain eligible, city-owned school buildings. The bill defines an eligible school building as an MPS school building that has been either 1) designated as surplus, underutilized, or vacant on any resolution adopted by the MPS board within the previous five years, provided the board is unable to demonstrate that the school building is no longer surplus, underutilized, or vacant; or 2) unused or satisfies any condition qualifying the building as underutilized for 12 consecutive months. The bill defines an underutilized school building as a school building that satisfies any of the following: a) less than 40 percent of the square footage of the school is used for the instruction of pupils on a daily, school day basis; b) with limited exceptions, the school is not staffed on a full-time basis by a principal and instructional staff assigned exclusively to the school; or c) the number of hours of pupil instruction offered in the school building in the previous school year was less than 80 percent of the number of hours of pupil instruction required to be offered by MPS. The bill requires the MPS board to annually prepare a detailed inventory of all school buildings in MPS and submit that inventory to the city clerk, the Department of Public Instruction, and the Joint Committee on Finance. The inventory must include the size and capacity of each school building and whether the building has ever been designated as surplus. The city clerk must publish information about eligible school buildings on the city’s Web page. Under the bill, once a school building has qualified as an eligible school building, only an education operator, with certain exceptions, may submit a letter of interest to the common council to purchase the building. The bill defines an education operator as any of the following: 1) the operator of a charter school established by the common council of the city, the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, or the Milwaukee Area Technical College district board; 2) the operator of a private school; 3) the operator of a charter school that is not an instrumentality of MPS; 4) an individual or group that is pursuing a contract with an entity under item 1 to operate a school as a charter school; 5) a person that is pursuing a contract with MPS to operate a school as a charter school that is not an instrumentality of the school district; or 6) an entity or organization that has entered into a written agreement with any of the education operators identified in items 1 to 5 to purchase or lease a building within which that education operator will operate a school.