Bennett also said he would consider pitches for Madison charter schools only by nonprofit entities — calling “the culture” here closed to for-profit entities.
The very soonest Madison residents could see an independent charter school open its doors in the city is fall 2018 — a year later than state officials first planned. That’s not foot-dragging, it’s prudence, according to Gary Bennett, who was hired last April to run the new Office of Educational Opportunity. Through that office, created by Republican state lawmakers in 2015, Bennett has the power to bypass local school boards in Madison and Milwaukee and authorize independent charters there. Work has been held up in part as state “charter czar” Gary Bennett shepherds through a drug recovery school favored by GOP lawmakers. He described charters as “incubators of innovative things” that he said are more difficult to do initially within school districts, but that ideally should be absorbed back into them eventually.