Proposal to nix Allied Drive Madison 4K site called short-sighted

Matthew DeFour:

Allied Drive advocates say a Madison School District proposal to abandon plans for a 4-year-old kindergarten site in the South Side neighborhood is short-sighted and potentially harmful to students.
Currently, 66 students are assigned to the Allied Learning Center next fall, including nine students from the Allied Drive neighborhood, one of the city’s poorest. But district officials have asked the school board to consider moving the students to other district sites, saying several parents had asked to send their children to other locations.
Ald. Brian Solomon, 10th District, said that recommendation is a “huge concern” touching on issues of civil rights, racial justice and the city’s efforts to improve a neighborhood once riddled by drugs and violence.
“This will have such an impact on the long-term success of these kids,” Solomon said. “Having every opportunity possible to allow the (Allied) parents to have more involvement will undoubtedly prepare these kids better for future years.”
Superintendent Dan Nerad brought the issue to the board’s attention last month after the parents of 16 students assigned to the Allied Learning Center requested different sites. In addition to the parents’ concerns, Nerad noted the $15,000 cost to add playground equipment and about $150,000 for additional staffing as other reasons not to use the site.