West Bend Charter school proposal at crossroads

A publicly funded school proposed by a Baptist pastor has gained support among School Board members despite objections by the district’s administrators over the school’s use of “a standard parochial curriculum with evangelical leanings.”
The School Board is scheduled to vote Monday on whether to enter into contract negotiations with First Baptist Church Pastor Bruce Dunford over his plans to open Crossroads Academy as a charter school next school year.
The school would teach a traditional curriculum that includes more classical readings and would have a more structured discipline system than other public schools, Dunford said. The school also would support the values of a majority of the West Bend community, he said, in response to concerns that he’s heard about bullying and a lack of modesty and morality in the public schools.
He said the school would be operated separately and not on the grounds of his church, where West Bend School Board member Tim Stepanski is a deacon. Unlike most charter schools in which staff is employed by the chartering district, Crossroads would be a so-called non-instrumentality charter school – one that employs its own staff and has more independence from the School Board on its curriculum and how it runs its day-to-day operations.
“I just simply believe the taxpayers, the parents of the community, should have options available to them,” Dunford said. “There should be a quality education that conforms to the value standards, convictions, whatever you want to call it, of a large part of our community.”