All posts by Kristina Navarro-Haffner

School Board Vote on the Studio School Tonight

In the context of the Madison School District’s financial challenges, it’s easy to understand why creating a new program may seem unthinkable. Yet creativity can prove a strong ally in times of adversity. Take the prospect of the latest charter school idea to come before the Madison School Board, and consider these points:
As a charter school, the Studio School can bring in $550,000 in federal grants over its first four years. These grants, earmarked for charter schools, are designed to help districts cover start-up costs. The Studio School can be implemented in a way that keeps operating costs in line with other elementary schools district-wide; yet as a charter with an arts and technology emphasis, it would have the ability to seek additional grants and sources of financial support.
The Studio School would be in an existing public school, just as the district’s bilingual charter school operates. This school-within-a- school model is a cost- efficient way to foster innovation. As a taxpayer and a parent, I see the Studio School as an excellent use of underused space. While its location has yet to be determined by the district and School Board, the idea poses interesting possibilities. Could a charter school draw some students from a nearby overcrowded school? Over the long term, might an innovative option help attract new families to a neighborhood where parents had once worried about the future of an under-enrolled school? And how might such an effort dovetail with our city’s development plans?

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