A second new school plans to open in Fitchburg this fall.
The Oregon School District has been constructing Forest Edge Elementary School on the eastern edge of the city for several months, and Tuesday, April 28, the Common Council unanimously approved the rezoning of a property at 2823 Index Road for the Milestone Democratic School. That will allow the charter school to operate there in September.
The year-round, grades 7-12 school would attempt to recruit students who live in poverty and work with children from at-risk and underserved populations.
Its website called its learning model a “participatory democracy” that gives students choice over what they learn. It is based out of the University of Wisconsin and focused on increasing educational equity, according to a January 2018 prospectus from the Office of Educational Opportunity, which gave conditional approval of its charter status in February 2019, according to a Capital Times story.
The school plans to have an incremental approach at reaching capacity, a letter from school developer Sean Anderson to the city stated. For the 2020-21 year, school staff anticipated having between 30 and 64 students, with increments of around 50 more students each year until 2023-24, when Anderson said its full capacity of 150-200 students would be reached.
Ald. Julia Arata-Fratta (Dist. 2) expressed concerns with the school’s ability to accommodate scores of cars as student enrollment increased. Mayor Aaron Richardson said parking could be a long-term issue for the school, but he reassured Arata-Fratta that the building’s owner, Dale Sticha, would allow parking spaces to be used around the building when other parts of it aren’t in use during the school day.
Administrator Patrick Marsh also noted that there is street parking for students, and he said the location is close to the Madison Metro bus route and would be accessible for students.