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Milwaukee May Be Forced To Sell Vacant Public Schools

Assembly Bill Would Give Voucher Schools First Opportunities


The city of Milwaukee would be compelled to sell vacant public school buildings under a measure that passed the state Assembly Thursday night.

The plan was passed at the urging of voucher schools that want the chance to use some of the Milwaukee Public School buildings that currently sit dormant. West Allis Republican state Rep. Joe Sanfelippo told reporters voucher schools should get that opportunity.

“They want to expand in these buildings and the school board is stopping that,” Sanfelippo said. “So they are spending an enormous amount of tax money to keep kids from being educated in these buildings that were built with tax dollars to educate kids.”

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Voucher schools would get first dibs on public school buildings, but if they remain vacant after a couple years, anyone could buy them.

The plan would only apply to schools in Milwaukee. Milwaukee Democrat Rep. Fred Kessler asked Republicans how they’d like it if schools were sold off in their communities.

“You’re setting a terrible precedent, because you are saying that the locally built schools are not going to be controlled by the local community, and you can sell them out from under them,” Kessler said.

The plan passed on a party line vote and now heads to the state Senate.