Proponents of the Madison Preparatory Academy said they're looking to take legal action against the Madison Metropolitan School District after the school board voted against the proposed charter school.
The Madison Board of Education put an end to the Madison Prep proposal with a 5-2 vote early Tuesday morning, and reaction was swift.
"Because (the school board members) don't take us seriously -- they will sit right up here and look in our face and not even know they're insulting us with the things that they say," said Kaleem Caire, president of the Urban League Of Greater Madison President, shortly after the vote. "We are going to turn our attention immediately, immediately, to address this legally."
The Urban League would have operated Madison Prep, and it worked to build support for the school aimed at helping low-income, minority students succeed.
Caire said he plans to file a discrimination complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice outlining the district's numerous failed attempts to close the achievement gap.
"Even in the last 20 years, (the school district) produced plan after plan after plan after plan after plan and has not executed those plans," said Caire. "They have not brought the community into those plans."
Caire promised to overthrow the school board at the ballot box by "(replacing) all of them who voted against this proposal."
Madison Metropolitan School District Superintendent Dan Nerad opposed the Madison Prep proposal, citing the lack of district oversight among other concerns.
"We are certainly leaning on the research about what makes the most difference in terms of improving achievement," Nerad said. "These are thorny, thorny, thorny issues. Communities across this country are experiencing this kind of achievement gap."
Nerad said he plans to unveil his own plan to close the achievement gap at the school board meeting in January. Nerad said he won't address details of the plan until then, but maintained that the district must continue working together with the Urban League.
"Time will tell all of what unfolds here," Nerad said. "But the needs of our kids call for us to be together around a table."
As for the discrimination complaint, Caire said he hopes to have it filed this week to give the district "a nice Christmas present."
"This school system is going to educate our children by any means necessary," he said.