Terry Falk
K-12 Education

Milwaukee School Board May Investigate Board Member

Aisha Carr suspected of unethical conduct. Her supporters criticized the board.

By - Apr 19th, 2024 02:02 pm
Aisha Carr. Photo courtesy of Aisha 4 Milwaukee.

Aisha Carr. Photo courtesy of Aisha 4 Milwaukee.

On Thursday night, the Milwaukee Public Schools Board of Directors moved into closed session to consider steps that may lead to the removal of a board member based upon allegations of unethical conduct. While no public statement was officially made, it is well known that the board member in question is Director Aisha Carr who represents District #4 which includes much of the northside central city area.

The board actions may be a response to online discussions of a recorded conversation in which Carr tells a former MPS administrator that she had planted a recording device in MPS Superintendent Keith Posley’s office. If she did do this, that could be a violation of state law. Carr previously had recorded a conversation with Matt Chason, director of the office of accountability and efficiency, without his knowledge. But because Carr was party to this conversation, no law appears to be broken by that recording. But the latter incident gives some credibility to the the idea that she planted a device in Posley’s office, though no such device has been publicly reported to have been found.

However at this time, it is not known why the board is considering disciplinary action directed toward Carr, or whether other actions by her are under consideration.

At the school board’s meeting last night, over 75 individuals showed up to speak in defense of Director Carr. Some expressed the belief that Carr is the one board member who speaks up for their community. A group of activists have spoken on behalf of Carr in other community forums to back her push to consider changing the school calendar to four days a week.

The public is allowed to speak only on the specific item before the board at that time. The move to a closed session was not an item up for public testimony; however, consideration of how the board might reorganize its committee structure was. One proposal of many was to cut the frequency of the Committee of Parent and Community Engagement (PACE) from every month to every other month because this committee often has few items on its agenda. Director Carr is the chair of this committee, and speaker after speaker at last night’s meeting used this board committee restructuring to state that the real reason to cut the PACE committee was to diminish the role of Carr as well as to shut out direct involvement from the public.

Terron Edwards, founder of Fathers Making Progress, told the board, “I’m feeling folks are being unheard.”

Shelia Dodd stated, “Why do you want to get rid of PACE?”

Beverly Hamilton Williams stated that the district needed to promote PACE, not diminish it. “Advertise more to the parents… It needs to meet every month and needs to be expanded.”

Said another speaker: “We need to control the teachers’ union instead of having it controlling this board.”

Quinton Klabon offered several suggestions to improve the PACE committee such as starting the meetings at 6 p.m. to give parents more time to get to the meetings; changing the deadline for online registration from 3 p.m. to a half hour before the start of the meeting; and holding some meetings at various high schools around the city instead of always at the MPS central office.

Throughout last night’s meeting, shouts came from the audience such as “New president” directed at board president, Marva Herndon.

The rhetoric intensified when parent Jamil Harris spoke, calling the board members “liars.” When told to speak only to the topic at hand, he shouted “We ain’t playing.” As he grew louder and refused to give up the mike, MPS security moved in. A couple of dozen individuals started to rush to the stage and were blocked by a dozen MPS security and two Milwaukee police officers. At that point, the board took a 15-minute break.

When they returned, school board director Darryl Jackson spoke directly to the audience. “Just to see the presence of the people who care about this, who want to be involved, who want to know, I personally want to say, thank you.”

Jackson often sits next to Carr, and he and Carr were the only two board members to vote against putting the school funding referendum on the April ballot, which voters approved by a narrow margin.

The last speaker of the night was Circuit Court Judge (and former state legislator) Lena Taylor, who has been a supporter of Carr from the very beginning of her campaign for the school board. Although Taylor spoke for twice as long as her allotted time and did not speak directly to the item before the board, no effort was made to cut her off. “I’m here to support Director Carr,” she said. “Whether you agree or disagree with one of your colleagues or whether you like or don’t like the tactics…”

In the end, the board voted for a resolution authored by Carr to send the question of the reorganization of committees back to a board committee for further discussion. The board then retired to a closed-door session and never returned for a statement or vote.

Supporters of Director Carr tried to argue that any potential actions by the board against her are intended to cut the public out of school governance. It will up to the board, should they take any action against her, to articulate precisely why.

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2 thoughts on “K-12 Education: Milwaukee School Board May Investigate Board Member”

  1. lcutright says:

    I think “Allocation” should be “allegation”?
    Also “I’m feeing folks” should be “feeling”
    And finally “Quentin Klavon” is spelled Quinton Klabon.

  2. Dave Reid says:

    @lcutright Thanks. Fixed.

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