Wisconsin’s 8th Assembly District is Walker’s Voucher School Breeding Ground and Birth Place of Modern Segregation

By Robert Miranda, Editor, Wisconsin Spanish Journal and Chris Johnson, Publisher, KINGFISHmke

The debate regarding a new private voucher school being advocated for in Milwaukee’s south side has been making news as of late.

At the center of the debate is Waukesha businessman Gus Ramirez, a wealthy business man who wants to use his family’s fortune to build a 25,000-square-foot gymnasium, as well as indoor and outdoor soccer fields to complement an 185,000-square-foot building with capacity for 1,000 students in 4-year-old kindergarten through grade 12.

The private voucher school complex would be known as St. Augustine Preparatory Academy and would be located at  S. 5th St. and W. Harrison Ave.

When all is said and done, it is estimated that the Ramirez Foundation will have spent nearly $40 million dollars to get the school established. Read more about the school here.

Currently the family is rousting up support from the neighborhood to support their initiative, recruiting groups such as Hispanics for School Choice in an effort to sway local politicians to back the proposed plan.

So far, one Alderman, Tony Zielinsky of the 14th Aldermanic district, who represents the district where the school would be located, is not backing the plan and the Milwaukee Teacher’s Education Association (MTEA) has formally stated they oppose the effort. 

But what about democrat State Representative JoCasta Zamarripa, where does she stand on the matter?

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has published several articles about the Ramirez initiative yet none of these articles have a comment from the Zamarripa, who has spoken against the expansion of private voucher schools in Madison during sessions of the assembly.

The 8th Assembly district is Zamarripa’s district and yet the representative has not made a formal public statement regarding whether or not she supports this private voucher school being established in her district.  

When asked via email specifically whether or not she supports St. Augustine, Zamarripa responded by stating: “With Milwaukee Public Schools educating far more Hispanic children than schools participating in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, the state should first focus on adequately funding these public schools before financing a new private voucher school. I do not believe any new private voucher school should receive taxpayer funds until adequate and consistent accountability standards are put in place for our Latino students and families.”

A bit ironic that, since she speaks against private voucher school expansion and demands accountability of private voucher schools, when you consider the fact that Zamarripa’s assembly district has experienced an explosion of private voucher schools in recent years. 

In fact, St. Anthony’s voucher school, located in Zamarripa’s district, according to the school’s director, Zeus Rodriquez, is the largest private voucher school program in the nation.
Read here.

The Ramirez St. Augustine private voucher school program would complement St. Anthony’s private voucher school, potentially making St. Anthony’s and St. Augustine two of the largest private voucher schools in the nation; all in the heart of the democratic stronghold known as Milwaukee. 

The 8th State Assembly district is potentially the home to two of the nation’s largest Walker supported private voucher schools in the country, and Democrat Zamarippa, of this district, is silent about whether or not she supports the establishment of St. Augustine. 

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel states that the south side has been particularly fertile ground for school growth of all kinds.  he list of schools includes St. Anthony School, Bruce-Guadalupe School, Nativity Jesuit School, Notre Dame School, Rocketship Southside Community Prep, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School and Escula Verde to name a few. There are, in fact, more.

WI gov. pushes his “anti” campaign forward

In essence, the 8th Assembly district has become Walker’s voucher school breeding ground. The explosion of private voucher schools developing in this district is helping Gov. Scott Walker move his anti-public education and anti-union campaign forward.  All of this under the watchful eye of Democrat JoCasta Zamarripa.

You would think that MTEA would hold Zamarripa’s feet to the fire, but that’s not the case. Why does MTEA continue to support Zamarripa knowing that her district is the epicenter for the growth of the private voucher school movement in Wisconsin?  

It seems there’s another nefarious more insidious reason to turn a blind eye to the voucher school nebula known as the 8th Assembly district, and that is ethnic segregation.

More to come.

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Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on October 01, 2015

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