Board appears open to urban ag charter school

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

From an article by Susan Troller in The Capital Times:

It's no secret that the Madison school district has generally taken a cautious -- some might say dim -- view of charter school proposals. But a well-organized pitch for Badger Rock, a charter middle school that would focus on environmental sustainability, with an innovative program for urban agriculture, alternative energy and project based learning, seemed to resonate well with the Madison School Board during a preliminary proposal on Jan. 4. The Board will vote on Jan. 11 whether to give the Badger Rock planning group the go ahead to develop a Charter School Planning Grant through the Department of Public Instruction.

A constellation of high-profile partners -- including "genius" grant winner Will Allen of Growing Power in Milwaukee, the Madison-based Center for Resilient Cities and Community GroundWorks -- are already in place for the world-class urban agriculture and green design campus, with or without a charter middle school component. There is also considerable interest from other environmental groups and the University of Wisconsin in the proposal, which could become a flagship for urban agriculture in the United States. The group raised well over the $500,000 purchase price for the site during a brief fundraising effort last fall, former Madison Mayor Joe Sensenbrenner, board president for the Center for Resilient Cities, said. Sensenbrenner said he believed there was signficant interest in the project from a variety of national, regional and local supporters.