Educate All Students: Larry Miller's Blog

November 1, 2013

Rocketship Misses Target Goal in Milwaukee

Filed under: Rocketship — millerlf @ 9:51 am

During the Spring of this year it was common to see Rocketship “recruiters” out in front of MPS schools attempting to get parents to pull their children out of public schools. While not reaching their goal for recruitment by third Friday, one should ask “what devious tactics will they employ next in their attempt to destroy public education and bilingual public schools?”

Under-enrollment may bring $1.4 million loss for Rocketship Milwaukee

By Erin Richards of the Journal Sentinel Oct. 30, 2013

California-based Rocketship Education’s first school in Milwaukee fell short of its enrollment projection of 485 students on the third Friday of September, which will likely lead to a $1.4 million shortfall for the school, according to new documents.

The K-5 school on Milwaukee’s south side still managed to enroll 307 children in 4-year-old kindergarten through fourth grade, according to a September 2013 headcount, which leaders said was impressive given Milwaukee’s competitive recruitment landscape.

“The 485 was a pretty lofty internal goal,” said Katy Venskus, vice-president of policy for the fast-growing charter school network, which plans to eventually run eight schools in Milwaukee and is expanding to other cities. 

“We’re pleased that we’re at 300.”

The start-up charter management organization has attracted national attention for its vision of redesigning elementary schools in urban centers. Rocketship aims to operate schools that are more financially efficient and more academically rigorous than traditional public schools serving mostly low-income and minority students.

The Journal Sentinel reported in-depth about the organization’s characteristics and challenges in July, as it was scrambling to recruit students.

Based on projections made available for a Rocketship board meeting this week, Rocketship Southside Community Prep, at 3003 W. Cleveland Ave., won’t break even until 2016-’17. The parent network based in San Jose, Calif. will help provide some relief, according to Rocketship documents.

Venskus said a higher-than-anticipated number of children with special needs enrolling in the school had also affected financial projections. About 14% of the school’s students have special needs, compared with an average 7% of students with special needs at the network’s California schools.

Venskus said Rocketship is committed to serving those students but had to pay for extra staff to accommodate them.

1 Comment »

  1. I have heard from an authoritative source that Rocketship’s Milwaukee school enrolled 100 students out of Froest Home Ave. DSchool MPS only to have 75 go back to Forest Home afterthe start of the school year. What’s going on? Second question: how mnany students did Rocketship send back to MPS after pocketing the per-pupil state funding after the 3rd Friday in September count? Third question: why did Rocketship’s spokewoman at the State Assembly hearing Madison on Oct. 23rd present such an upbeat and glowing report on Rocketship, along with an exagerration of the enrollment? Are we dealing with reality or with spin here?

    Comment by Fr Thomas MNueller — November 4, 2013 @ 1:56 pm | Reply


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