Assembly authorizes MPS buildings sale

The Wisconsin State Assembly passed legislation Thursday night authorizing the sale of certain underused public school buildings in the Milwaukee Public Schools District.

WisPolitics, a media partner of BizTimes, reported the Assembly voted 56-39 to pass Assembly Bill 417, with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed.

Qualified buildings could be sold to other educational entities after filing a letter indicating interest with the Milwaukee Common Council.

Rep. Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee) said the bill originated due to a single disagreement between the Milwaukee Public Schools board and a choice school operator looking to buy a vacant building.

“I don’t understand why the state government needs to get involved,” Goyke said.

“You are saying that the locally built schools aren’t going to be controlled by the local community, and you can sell them out from under them,” added fellow Fred Kessler (D-Milwaukee).

Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) responded that Milwaukee should be looking to help successful private schools acquire MPS property.

“We know what this is about … it’s about market share,” Kooyenga said.

“I am proud that we are taking control from someone who is failing the kids so often,” added Rep. John Klenke (R-Green Bay).

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