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The first class of sixth-graders in the proposed Madison Preparatory Academy would attend school nearly year-round, be in class from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., and participate in mandatory extracurricular activities.

Parents would take classes in how to prepare their students for college while the school would aim to enroll at least 70 percent minorities and 65 percent low-income students.

Those and other new details about the controversial charter school proposal are included in a draft business plan the Urban League of Greater Madison provided to the Madison School Board this week. The School District provided a copy to the State Journal at the newspaper's request.

The business plan is incomplete. More details will be shared with the board by the end of the month, Urban League President Kaleem Caire said.

But School Board President James Howard said the board asked for as many details as possible now so it could start asking questions.

"There's going to be changes all the way up until the finish line on this thing," Howard said. "The board is better off having some idea of what this business plan looks like."

Caire has been touting the school for more than a year and is seeking $19.8 million in district funding over the next five years, though he recently announced a $2.5 million private donation designed to reduce the cost to the district. Because the district would need fewer teachers if the school is approved, it would also save money, about $14.8 million under the latest estimate.

District officials must review the final proposal and provide an administrative analysis to the School Board 15 days before the board votes on a final contract, which is expected at their Nov. 28 meeting.

The Urban League provided a proposed budget to the School Board prior to the only official public hearing on Oct. 3, but a more detailed proposal about how the school would operate has not been publicly available until now.

"The sooner the information gets out, the better for community and administrator input," said T.J. Mertz, a critic of the proposal. "The effort has gone into selling a school that isn't ready to be sold — and that's a problem."

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Details emerge

According to the draft plan, the school expects to serve a student body that is at least 70 percent non-white, 65 percent low-income and 10 percent non-native English speakers.

The school would set high benchmarks for student learning: 90 percent would score at proficient or advanced levels in reading, math and science on state assessments after three years of enrollment. Caire said the final plan could set that goal at 85 percent. Also, 90 percent of students would graduate on time.

All students would complete the SAT and ACT with 75 percent achieving a 22 composite score on the ACT and 1100 combined math and verbal score on the SAT. All students would also qualify for admission to a four-year college and enroll in postsecondary education after graduation.

The school day would start at 8 a.m. and run until 5 p.m. with mandatory sports and extracurricular activities running until at least 6 p.m. and possibly later, Caire said. Over the year, students would be required to participate in two sports, two other extracurricular activities and a year-round fitness program.

The school year would run for 210 days for first-year students, including a two-week orientation, and 200 days for returning students, up from the current 180-day school year. It would include a third semester during the entire month of July with an earlier release time.

New students would take a pre-assessment to determine if their math and reading skills are at grade level. Those behind their peers by one grade level or more would participate in a "Prep Year" in which they would receive accelerated instruction and then either repeat that year or advance with their classmates.

Meanwhile, parents would be required to participate in nine workshops over five weeks to learn how to become college preparatory coaches for their children.

The Urban League is seeking a 48,000 square-foot facility within five miles of Downtown to lease for the first three years with a move to a more permanent facility in year four.

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A draft business plan provides new details about a proposed Madison charter school, which if approved by the School Board would open as two single-sex schools in the same building with 120 sixth graders next fall.

  • • The student body would be at least 70 percent non-white, 65 percent low-income and 10 percent non-native English speakers. 
  • • The school day would run from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.
  • • Students would be required to participate over the school year in two sports, two other extracurricular activities and a year-round fitness program.
  • • A two-week new student orientation would begin Aug. 20. The school year would end the following July 31 after a month-long summer semester.
  • • Parents would be required to participate in nine workshops over five weeks to learn how to become college preparatory coaches for their children. 
  • • The school would be ideally located on South Park Street between UW-Madison and the Beltline, East Washington Avenue between the Capitol and First Street or Regent Street between Park Street and Midvale Boulevard.