But Cheatham urged the board not to see it as an us-vs-them proposition, noting the charter school and its students would be fully part of the district if the contract was approved. The district also should “honor and value” grass-roots proposals that come from the community, she said, especially one like this promising to help the district address its achievement gaps for students of color.
“Many of us see the hope and opportunity there, even if the impact is small,” she said. “We think it’s worth it.”
Burke noted the projected cost per student would be around $9,000, which would rank it on the low side for elementary schools in the district, and Howard made an impassioned plea to his fellow board members to approve the contract to explore whether doing things differently results in better outcomes for minority students.
“It’s all about access,” he said. “All the data around kids of color shows we have not gotten it right. Every one of us has a part of getting it wrong for students of colors.”
“We owe it to our community of color here in Madison to give this a shot, to learn from it,” Burke agreed.
A majority of the Madison School Board rejected the proposed Preporatory Academy IB Charter School.