Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Milwaukee Voucher High School Closes

Voucher schools around the country are proving to be an epic failure and are leaving students and their parents stranded with little or no warning.

It's no different in Milwaukee:
A private Milwaukee high school run by a voucher-school operator that's come under scrutiny this year has been barred from receiving more taxpayer money, state documents show.

And now Travis Technology High School on Milwaukee's north side has closed, forcing about 200 teenagers, almost all of whom attended on a taxpayer-paid voucher, to find different schools to attend when winter break ends.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction on Dec. 22 barred the high school from participating in the Milwaukee voucher program because it failed to obtain a special bond this month that was part of an agreement the school's operators signed with the state in October.

On Monday, a receptionist at Travis Tech confirmed the school was no longer operating.

Travis Tech, 8350 N. Steven Road, had 179 children enrolled as of fall 2014, according to state enrollment figures. The high school is one of two voucher schools run by Ceria M. Travis Academy Inc. The other is Ceria M. Travis Academy, 4744 N. 39th St., a much larger school with 437 students enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade, according to state enrollment figures.

The nonprofit running the schools is headed by CEO Dorothy Travis Moore and her daughter, Executive Director Wilnekia Brinson.

Both are paid six-figure compensation packages, according to their organization's federal tax filings. Meanwhile, current and former employees have complained to the state and to the Journal Sentinel of lacking textbooks and other adequate classroom materials and resources to help children learn.

They also complained that Travis Moore has regularly employed teachers without bachelor's degrees — the state requires teachers at voucher schools to have degrees — while employing family members with dubious job titles and responsibilities.

Travis Moore and Brinson did not return calls for comment for this article. In previous interviews, they confirmed a handful of family members were employed but declined to produce a full roster of staff members' names, job titles and salaries.
Yeah, it sucks for those kids and their parents that have to find a new school by Monday but hey, at least the owner of the voucher school and her family got paid well, which surely will help them sleep at night:
Federal nonprofit tax filings list the individual compensation for Travis Moore and Brinson, whose total compensation packages totaled $213,000 and $118,000 respectively, in 2012, according to those federal documents.

Brinson said five family members are employed at the organization, which has 67 employees. Travis Moore confirmed that Brinson's husband, Robert Brinson, works for the organization in a student support and security role.

They declined to disclose other family members' job titles and salaries.

A video from a celebratory dinner for the organization at the Milwaukee Art Museum in 2011 revealed that Travis Moore's son worked for the organization, as well.
Over the years, the Travis family has raked in $35 million even though only 2% of their students can read at grade level and only 3% can do math at grade level.

I can't wait for the rousing success the entire state will see in 2015 when Scott Walker and the Teapublicans make the voucher system a statewide program.


  1. And even better, now those kids have to deal with the disruption of changing schools, and MPS has to take most of those kids without getting an increase in funding to handle it.

    I'd recommend that you read this post from an MPS teacher to get an idea just how much of a scam this really is.

  2. In a perverse twist voucher supporters applaud this development as a positive example that it is working. This failing voucher school is shut down but the failing public schools continue to operate. Conclusion: We need more voucher schools.

  3. Problem is this school was not closed because of poor performance. Only because they didn't get their reports in. So, don't compare it to failing public schools.

    1. Their proficiency rate was 2%, but you're right, they weren't shut down for the low scores. That might be the scariest point of them all, because how bad does a voucher school have to be to get cut off of the taxpayer's teat?

  4. I don't see any balska comments on something that matters.

    Happy New Year to all !!!!

  5. In other words, this school didn't pass muster and was shut down. Too bad the 50 Milwaukee public schools where 90% of the kids can't read at grade level aren't being shut down. Does that work for you, Anonnymouse?