Madison schools could be subject to takeover bill

MMSD will cut 80 jobs from schools, central office next year

A sweeping proposal giving control of the lowest-performing schools in Milwaukee to a commissioner who could fire all the teachers and administrators might also apply to other large, racially diverse school districts in Wisconsin, including Madison.

The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee, around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, approved the overhaul plan for Milwaukee. The so-called Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program requires three criteria to be met, and Milwaukee is the only district that would immediately qualify.

But Madison and Racine meet two of the three criteria and could be brought into the forced reorganization plan later.

One of the criteria is that a school district must receive the lowest rating on the most recent accountability report in two consecutive years. Madison Metropolitan School District Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham told News 3 Madison schools are currently meeting expectations and she doesn’t believe the district would be subject to a takeover.

Under the Republican-backed proposal, an independent commissioner would be able to convert the three lowest-performing schools to private voucher or independent charter schools in the first year and then up to five more schools each of the following years.