MADISON (WKOW) -- It was a packed house Monday for public input on plans for a new charter school in Madison.
In this time of big budget cuts, money is a main concern.
Discussion about the Madison Preparatory Academy has gone back and forth since March.
Nearly 60 people registered Monday to tell the Madison Board of Education how they feel about the proposal
"We are educating people. They are not machines that we can program one program for them and send everybody through that and everybody is going to be successful," Tania Ibarra said, speaking in favor of Madison Prep.
The Urban League of Greater Madison says the charter school would address the academic achievement, and high school and college graduation gaps between White students and their Black and Latino peers.
"The district's house is on fire and we cannot sit around arguing about which fire department to call," said Gloria Ladson-Billings, a Madison Prep board member.
The Urban League now plans to open two separate schools next year with 60 boys and 60 girls in sixth grade.
They will expand each year until it includes grades six through twelve.
But some parents are concerned about how this will affect their children in public schools.
"The cost of Madison Prep is fiscally irresponsible in a time when public schools already face massive cuts," Anna Moffett said.
"The ones from academia don't give a damn about the people they are leaving behind, like the children that will be left behind if money is taken out of our school and put in a private school," said Will Williams, speaking against Madison Prep.
The Urban League is no longer asking for Title 1 funding after some were concerned it would leave less money for district elementary schools.
The five-year contract would request more than $11,000 per student from MMSD.
"We want Madison Prep to be a sound investment for district that can be replicated in successes and hopefully in pitfalls that we will avoid," said Laura Deroche-Perez with the Urban League.
Monday's hearing was just another step in a long process.
Superintendent Dan Nerad says afterwards comes a finalized proposal, an administrative analysis and then a vote some time in November.
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