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MTEA criticizes charter school offering cash for new student referrals

MILWAUKEE-- One hundred dollars for each referral, that's what Urban Day School in Milwaukee is offering to people who bring in new students.

\"We could hire staff to do recruitment, but we find our best recruiters are parents who've associated themselves with Urban Day,\" said James Feil, President of Urban Day Schools.

According to the charter school's website-- the incentive will be offered through September 19th and there's no limit on the number of referrals one person can bring in.

\"I was surprised to see them stoop this low, and I'm sorry it's come to this,\" said Bob Peterson, President of the Milwaukee Teacher's Education Association.

Peterson says this incentive seems more like a bribery.

\"I think schools should market themselves, I think it's happening everywhere,\" said Peterson, \"but it should be on the basis of what they offer to students, not on a cash return on each head they bring in on the day that the state takes its count.\"

Feil says that's is not the intention.

\"What we choose to do sometime in the selection of our strategies is we're trying to keep our overhead as low as possible,\" said Feil.

Feil says with smaller class sizes and highly effective teachers-- more people should know about this alternative to traditional neighborhood schools.

\"It's not necessarily a level playing field that exists,\" said Feil, \"I mean we are really at a disadvantage when it comes to what the state provides charter schools.\"

Urban day school is chartered by UWM.  Peterson says he's calling on the university to step in and stop offering this incentive. 

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