District receives one charter school grant

Will move ahead to hire director for new venture that could bring in new students and revenue
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

The Cedar Grove-Belgium School District’s new charter school received a noncompetitive grant for $800,000 from the State Department of Instruction this month.

That allows the district to hire a director for Rocket Academy, Supt. Chad Brakke said.

The position, according to its posting on the Wisconsin Education Career Access Network, has more than 20 responsibilities including planning, teaching, directing and working with the school’s governance council, essentially the school board for the academy.

The school is expected to open in fall 2023, and that’s when the director’s role will switch from planning to teaching, as well as leading the school supported by an administrative assistant.

Possible program areas include: computer numerical controlled machining, welding, industrial maintenance, heating, ventilating and air conditioning installation and pre-engineering.

The school, Brakke said, would allow the district to expand its technical education offerings, create a regional center to draw students from other districts and provide businesses from Sheboygan to Milwaukee a space to train current and future employees.

Curriculum will be provided by Lakeshore Technical College, and students would be able to receive college credits while in high school.

“The facility itself could be a 24/7 facility for training for companies in the area or LTC night classes,” Brakke said.

The Cedar Grove-Belgium School Board had approved the plan for the charter school with its members often lamenting a shortage of workers in the trades during the past few years.

The district, in partnership with several area businesses and colleges, chose a 10,000-square-foot building in Belgium owned by Krier Foods for the academy.

The company isn’t using the building and had expressed interest in leasing it for Rocket Academy, but Krier Foods this month was acquired by Celerant Capital, a private equity sponsor. Brakke said he isn’t sure what the impact that will have on leasing the building.

The district found out this month it did not receive a Workforce Innovation Grant for about $2 million in the second round of the awards. It also was not chosen for a grant in the first round announced in spring. That money could have been used for toward a lease and for equipment for Rocket Academy.

Regardless, companies excited about the project will drop off “literally tons” of materials at the school, Mike Dietrich, vice President of LAB Midwest and a member of the board of governance, said.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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