Here's the latest on efforts to save virtual schools:
Wisconsin Coalition of Virtual School Families
For Immediate Release, March 4, 2008
Contact: Rose Fernandez, 262-565-7844
Breaking the Stalemate III:
Senate Virtual School Enrollment Lock Out/Freeze Could Close Public Schools
Administrators Say Newer, Smaller Public Virtual Schools in Jeopardy
[Madison, Wisconsin…] The Capitol stalemate over a two year freeze of enrollment at public virtual schools is a dangerous game of chicken that leaves the educational future of thousands of schoolchildren at risk.
"The clock is ticking, and the Senate and Governor need to agree to negotiate with the Assembly," said Rose Fernandez, president of the Wisconsin Coalition of Virtual School Families. "While the sides work out an agreement on just how punitive an enrollment cap will be, they must ditch the enrollment freeze that locks out new enrollees for two years. Stifling the growth of some of Wisconsin's smaller public virtual schools will cause them to close. Which lawmaker wants to be the first in state's history to close down a public school?"
Some superintendents have said in legislative testimony and in letters to the editor that the two year enrollment freeze could mean the closure of their schools.
The superintendents of districts that operate virtual schools have a pending request before the Governor for a meeting to advance a compromise that saves Wisconsin's public virtual schools.
Yesterday, as Senate Democrats were gathering at a fund raiser in Milwaukee, the Coalition held a small demonstration wherein they pleaded for them to accept AB870, the BIPARTISAN compromise which passed the Assembly last week.
Holding signs that read: "Please Help Us," "Don't leave us out in the cold" and "Work Together," Coalition members respectfully petitioned the Senators to agree to eliminate the two year enrollment freeze.
"This is one issue that Democrats and Republicans have compromised on and worked together on," said Fernandez. "We're close to an agreement that saves these schools. It would be a travesty to see partisan gamesmanship obstruct AB870 and dash the hopes of thousands of Wisconsin's kids."
The State Superintendent of Public Instruction, teachers, students, parents, administrators and Republican and Democrat lawmakers are on record in support of the Bipartisan Virtual School Rescue Plan that includes the Governor's request for an audit of these programs and a modest enrollment cap but does not freeze enrollment.