Open Enrollment Closing Doors

It's a case of racial quotas in open enrollment.

According to state statutes, a district must reject any application for transfer into or out of a district if it will increase racial imbalances in the district.

Mother of four, Kirsten Menningen, asked members of the Madison Metropolitan School Board Monday night to reevaluate the district's decision to deny open enrollment to two of her children.

She's concerned because two years ago her oldest son transferred to the Wisconsin Virtual Academy through open enrollment.

This year, two of her sons were denied a transfer. School officials say that's because minority enrollment across the district is at its cutoff.

MMSD Spokesperson Joe Quick says their hands are tied, as they must follow state statutes.

While Menningen says education should be based on what's best for kids, not the color of their skin. She says the best thing for her sons is school at home.

The MMSD gets state aide under the chapter 220 program -- that's why it must follow the "racial imbalance" statute.

Every year about one-third of the applications are rejected.

As for the Menningens, Kirsten has the right to appeal to the Department of Public Instruction. Based on their ruling she could head to circuit court, thereby suing the state under the grounds that the statute discriminates.

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