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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Milwaukee private school closes ‘in the dead of night,’ taking over $200k of taxpayer money with them

Milw. Journal Sentinel - Milwaukee voucher school LifeSkills Academy closes 'in the dead of the night'
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: A small private school participating in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program abruptly closed in the middle of December, but not before collecting more than $200,000 from taxpayers this academic year to educate students who now attend other schools, state officials confirmed.

LifeSkills Academy, a K-8 school that had dwindled to 66 students, appears to have closed around Dec. 12, according to a letter sent to the school from the Department of Public Instruction.

All Saints Catholic Church owns the building that LifeSkills rented at 3434 N. 38th St.

"They moved out, as people say, in the dead of the night," Father Carl Diederichs of All Saints said.

The school’s leader listed in DPI documents is Taron Monroe. Diederichs said she appeared to work with her husband, Rodney Monroe.

LifeSkills received $202,278 in taxpayer-funded voucher payments from the state this year, and more than $633,248 in voucher payments in 2012-‘13, according to the DPI.

The school joined the voucher program in 2008-‘09 and collected more than $2 million in total public payments to educate children.
You’d think that running off with taxpayer money would be enough of a scandal, but we haven’t reached the bottom yet. That $2 million Lifeskills took in over the years? It didn’t buy taxpayers one helluva lot.

No students attending LifeSkills were proficient in reading or math in 2012-‘13, except for a single fourth-grade student, according to the most recent state achievement test score results.
So they collected millions, closed up shop after collecting hundreds of thousands more, and didn’t deliver jack in terms of education. This is a prime example of the privatization of government services, people. It’s the idea that private business can make a profit and still deliver better and cheaper services than the public sector, which doesn’t have to put money aside solely for profit.

In order to believe this anti-math, I think you’d have to be a former Lifeskills Academy student. It makes absolutely no sense at all.

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