Foundation opposes religious charter school proposal

The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter today to the Board of Education president and members of the West Bend Joint School District [West Bend, Wis.] in opposition to a proposal to form the Crossroads Academy charter school, which the Foundation says raises serious concerns under the U.S. Constitution and Wisconsin law.

The Foundation, which works to protect the constitutional principle of separation between church and state, has nearly 16,000 members nationwide and more than 1,200 in Wisconsin.

Crossroads Academy charter school, proposed by a pastor of a Baptist church, would be based on the “Hillsdale Academy Model,” which contains this statement of religious instruction:

“Hillsdale College’s Judeo-Christian tradition broadly guides the course of study and instruction at Hillsdale Academy. The Academy offers instruction based upon traditional, nondenominational biblical beliefs, principles and virtues that seek to develop those qualities of life characteristic of man’s understanding of his relationship to his Creator and his place in the world.”

“If the Board approves the charter for the Crossroads Academy, which appears to be a thinly veiled Christian school, the District will violate the most basic principles of Establishment Clause jurisprudence,” noted Patrick Elliott, FFRF staff attorney. “A public school system cannot financially or otherwise provide direct aid to schools performing religious instruction.”

The Crossroads Academy proposed curriculum includes “unashamedly Christian” and “biblically based” instructional materials, including books by Judy Hull Moore, author of at least nine “God’s Plan” books, such as “God’s Plan for Air,” and “God’s Plan for Weather.” According to the West Bend Daily News, the charter school would teach creationism in its science classes.

Elliott told the district that “Wisconsin law requires that a charter school ‘be nonsectarian in its programs, admission policies, employment practices and all other operations.’ ”

The Foundation requested that the Board of Education reject the proposal to form Crossroads Academy charter school because “the school cannot legally operate as a public charter school. The Establishment Clause and Wisconsin law prohibit it.”

The Board will address the proposal at its next meeting, Monday, Nov. 22.


Please send a brief message to the president of the Board of Education (and other Board members if you have time) objecting to the proposed Crossroads Academy charter school, which will be the focus of the Board’s Monday, Nov. 22 meeting. Board members will have a work session at 5:30 p.m. regarding the Crossroads Academy and listen to public comments at 7:00 PM at McLane Elementary School, 833 Chestnut Street, West Bend.


Joe Carlson

[email protected]

Vice President
Tim Stepanski

[email protected]

Bruce Koenig

[email protected]

Todd Miller
[email protected]

Randy Marquardt
[email protected]

Dave Weigand
[email protected]

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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