hearing sought Pastor of First Baptist Church seeks approval for K-12 school; it would be West Bend’s first By KRISTEN J. KUBISIAK Daily News Staff
The West Bend School District received an inquiry about opening what would be the district’s first charter school this week.
A certified letter was submitted to the district by Bruce Dunford, a West Bend resident and pastor of First Baptist Church. In the letter, Dunford requested a public hearing for approval to begin a K-12 charter school.
“Our intent is to begin this fall (if we get the approvals) with kindergarten and first grade with plans to expand to additional grades in a systematic manner,” Dunford said.
Charter schools are public, nonsectarian schools created through a contract between the operators and the sponsoring school board, according to the Department of Public Instruction.
The Wisconsin charter school law gives charter schools freedom from most state rules and regulations in exchange for greater accountability for results.
The charter defines the missions and methods of the school and the chartering authority holds the school accountable to its charter.
“Our desire to start this school is based upon a long-held belief that families desire and deserve an option to the mandated government school monopoly that is presently in place,” Dunford said.
West Bend School District Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Ted Neitzke will be handling the charter school request. Neitzke said he had only just received Dunford’s letter and was still trying to contact him to discuss the details.
In Wisconsin, there are more than 200 charter schools.
“As school districts around the state go, we have a fine one in West Bend,” Dunford said. “But I think there are parents looking for an alternative that more closely reflects their values.”