Wisconsin educators speak out against GOP's COVID-19 response plan

NOW: Wisconsin educators speak out against GOP’s COVID-19 response plan

WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- Teachers and education leaders are speaking out against the COVID-19 response plan from Wisconsin Republican leadership.

The plan would remove authority from local school boards and force teachers into the classroom by late January.

Some districts say they should be able to make GOP requirements work by January, but others say they simply will not comply with the directives.

Milwaukee Teachers Union President Amy Mizialko says Wisconsin public schools have already suffered COVID-19-related deaths.

"Members of the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association have passed away from complications from COVID-19," Mizialko said. 

She says the union does not intend to comply with the Republican legislation that would put teachers back in classrooms. 

"This will not go on on our watch. We will not have our students and families shoved into buildings that are unsafe."

The bill would require school boards to ensure "all hours of direct pupil instruction are provided by a teacher who is physically located in a school building."

The Racine Unified School District (RUSD) says they think they can comply with a teacher in the room, but students learning virtually at home, which they were doing earlier in the year.

"They were teaching from their classrooms at their schools in a safe environment while students were safe at home," said Stacey Tapp of RUSD. "So moving them back to their classrooms wouldn't be a big switch."

Bug virtual learning would be a big cost. The bill would require school boards to pay each parent $371 for a semester that is at least 50% virtual. 

The Milwaukee School Board estimates that would cost $30 million.

"We would not be able to pay that. We don't have $30 million. Where would we -- where would we get it?"

MPS Board President Larry Miller says he does not expect the district to comply with the bill if it passes.

"I'm not going to be intimidated by Robin Vos or by the state legislature," he said. 

The bill would also require 2/3 of a local school board to agree on any plan for virtual instruction. 

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