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Church to host forum on school choice at former Mueller school

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, Sep. 18, 2013, at 7:57 p.m.

A Wichita church that wants to turn the former Mueller Elementary School into a private or charter school will host a town hall forum about school choice Thursday evening.

The meeting will feature a keynote address by Michael Chartier, director of state programs and government relations for the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. It is 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the former Mueller school, 2821 E. 24th St. North, near 24th and Estelle.

Wade Moore, pastor of Christian Faith Centre, which paid the Wichita district $40,000 for the Mueller building in June, said the forum is intended to answer questions about school choice initiatives such as charter schools and scholarship tax credits.

Mueller closed last year as part of cost-cutting measures. Moore said the church plans to open it soon as a day care and preschool, and eventually as the Urban Preparatory Academy of Wichita, a kindergarten through fifth-grade private school tailored primarily to African-American children.

Earlier this year the Friedman Foundation, a reform organization headquartered in Indianapolis, sponsored an informational breakfast at the school that featured a speech by Georgia state Rep. Alicia Thomas Morgan. She told supporters that they would be “fighting a Goliath” if they lobby for school choice initiatives.

Thursday’s forum will include time for questions from the public, Moore said.

Kansas has 15 charter schools, but unlike charters in other parts of the country, they operate under direct supervision of the local school district.

Some lawmakers, including State Senate President Susan Wagle of Wichita, have said they plan to push ahead with expanding charter schools after the state Supreme Court rules on a pending school finance lawsuit.

Reach Suzanne Perez Tobias at 316-268-6567 or stobias@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @suzannetobias.

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