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Thursday, February 20, 2014

 8:02 PM 

Assembly backs bill authorizing sales of Milwaukee school buildings

The Assembly voted 56-39 to pass legislation authorizing the sale of certain underused public school buildings in the city of Milwaukee.

Qualified buildings could be sold to other educational entities after filing a letter indicating interest with the city’s common council.

Dems slammed the measure, with Rep. Mandy Wright arguing that although a free market approach would sell to the highest bidder, the bill mandates the sale of “publicly built buildings to private educational operators.”

“If we’re looking to fan the flames of fear from public education supporters, this is one of those bills,” said Wright, D-Wausau.

Rep. Evan Goyke, D-Milwaukee, noted that the bill originated due to a single disagreement between the Milwaukee Public Schools board and a choice school operator looking to buy a vacant building.

“I don’t understand why the state government needs to get involved,” Goyke said.

“You are saying that the locally built schools aren’t going to be controlled by the local community, and you can sell them out from under them,” added fellow Milwaukee Dem Fred Kessler.

Rep. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield, responded that Milwaukee should be looking to help successful private schools acquire MPS property.

“We know what this is about ... it’s about market share,” Kooyenga said.

"I am proud that we are taking control from someone who is failing the kids so often," added Rep. John Klenke, R-Green Bay.


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