Representative Goyke Authors Resolution Regarding Sudden Closure of LifeSkills Academy: Denied by GOP Party Line Vote
Today State Representative Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee) put forward a resolution in the Wisconsin State Assembly that addresses the sudden closure of LifeSkills Academy in Milwaukee on or about December 12, 2013.
MADISON – Today State Representative Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee) put forward a resolution in the Wisconsin State Assembly that addresses the sudden closure of LifeSkills Academy in Milwaukee on or about December 12, 2013. Before its closure, LifeSkills Academy operated in the City of Milwaukee as a private school participating in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program.
According to reports by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, LifeSkills Academy began participating in the voucher system during the 2008-2009 school year and collected more than $2 million in taxpayer money, with more than $200,000 this current academic year. In an article dated January 14, 2014, the Journal Sentinel reported that under current law the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) cannot recoup taxpayer dollars spent by voucher schools that do not complete the academic year. Also according to the Journal Sentinel, the former operators of LifeSkills Academy are now residing in Florida where they are attempting to start a new voucher school.
The resolution authored by Representative Goyke would do the following:
1.) Requests that DPI immediately contact the relevant state agency in the state of Florida that regulates the operation of private schools in that state to inform the agency of the closing of LifeSkills Academy.
2.) Directs the Committee on Assembly Organization to contact the appropriate Wisconsin state agencies to request that the agencies immediately commence proceedings to recover any state funds that may be collectible from LifeSkills Academy or its agents.
3.) Requests that DPI provide the assembly with all information relating to whether any other private schools that participate in a parental choice program in this state have abruptly closed and relocated to another state after receiving state funding.
On the floor of the Assembly, Representative Goyke called for immediate action to prevent this from happening again. Republicans opposed and defeated the measure on a party line vote calling the resolution “disingenuous.”
Following the vote, Representative Goyke stated, “Regardless of my Republican colleagues’ refusal to address this preventable disaster, I am committed to finding a solution so that all children receive a stable, quality education, and that Wisconsin tax payers don’t see publicly funded schools close their doors in the middle of the night.”
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