Elmbrook backs off on Chapter 220 participation
Board president calls for future enrollment plan to be crafted
Despite voicing mixed feelings Tuesday, Elmbrook School Board members stuck with their plan to not open any new Chapter 220 seats for the 2010-11 school year.
Board member Glen Allgaier supported the decision, and questioned whether the program's costs outweigh its benefits.
"I do believe the benefits are there for the 220 students who participate," he said. "I'm not as sure about the benefit for our own students.
"There is a cost to that program, and that cost impacts the academic benefits to the resident students."
During the 2009-10 school year, Elmbrook will spend about $1.7 million to educate the 290 students enrolled in the district through the Chapter 220 program, which allows Milwaukee Public Schools students to attend suburban districts.
"That's $1.7 million that's not being spent on resident students," Allgaier said. "That's the equivalent of 25 full-time teachers."
Allgaier called for a long-term plan, backed by hard data, for future nonresident student enrollment in light of an anticipated ongoing budget shortfall. Nonresidents attend the district through Chapter 220 and Open Enrollment.
Likely to cost taxpayers
The board will allow up to 15 contingency seats for siblings of current Chapter 220 students, but no new seats will be opened during 2010-11. Depending on how many of those contingency seats are filled, the number of Chapter 220 students in the district could drop by as much as 12 percent next year.
Having fewer Chapter 220 students means the district will get less state aid, resulting in slightly higher taxes for district residents, said Keith Brightman, assistant superintendent for finance and operations.
Diversity needs discussion
The Chapter 220 program is intended to increase diversity in suburban school districts while allowing MPS students access to suburban education.
Board member Bob Ziegler said Elmbrook students are well-served to have minority students enrolled at their schools.
"The earlier we can start that openness to diversity, the openness to working with people of different backgrounds and cultures, the better off our kids will be," Ziegler said.
But Allgaier said the district must decide if diversity is worth the cost.
"Ultimately, we have to consciously decide what educational benefits we're willing to concede for our resident students in order to have the benefits of integration."
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- Juneau Pathway faces new roadblock
- Brookfield woman says unleashed Rottweiler attacked her dog
- Police Report: June 18
- Elmbrook surveys for satisfaction
- Wauwatosa West triplet seniors to split but stay connected
- Beautification Committee seeking the most vibrant yard in Elm Grove
- Elmbrook named top workplace
- Business Calendar: May 16-29
- Grab a Bite: Jake's: More than just steak and potatoes
- 'Starry Nights' at the Wilson Center starts June 21