County Board Committee Passes Resolution Protesting MPS Takeover
Measure Expresses Opposition to Law Allowing MPS Takeover by County Executive, Calls for County Executive to Advocate for Repeal
The Milwaukee County Board’s Committee on Intergovernmental Relations today passed a resolution calling for the repeal of a law that allows the County Executive to appoint and supervise a Commissioner who will oversee the turnover of under-resourced and underserved Milwaukee Public Schools to public charter or private voucher school operators.
The resolution also calls for legal analysis of liability issues for Milwaukee County and a cost analysis of the law, which is known as the Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program. In addition, the resolution also creates a County policy that the Commissioner not be a County employee.
“This law will diminish the power of Milwaukee voters and residents to self-govern their public schools,” said Supervisor Khalif Rainey. “What experience does the County Executive have in governing education? Why should the County Executive subvert the will of the people by taking away power from the democratically elected school board? This takeover of MPS schools needs to be repealed.”
Supervisor John F. Weishan, Jr., said that municipalities outside the City of Milwaukee should not be expected to support failing MPS schools with their property tax dollars.
“Residents outside of the City of Milwaukee lack control over the expenditure of tax money to support failing Milwaukee schools,” Weishan said. “Frankly, it is outrageous that suburban taxpayers should be expected to have any responsibility for funding MPS schools.”
Supervisor Jason Haas, Chairman of the committee, called the law “undemocratic.”
“The people of Milwaukee are represented by a duly-elected school board,” Haas said. “The state Constitution provides for the establishment of school districts for the purpose of providing free education for the children of the state. It is inconceivable to me that anyone believes that this law is anything other than undemocratic. This amounts to taxation without representation, and it should not be tolerated by the people of Milwaukee County, especially those outside the City of Milwaukee.”
Supervisor Eddie Cullen said the law was bad for students, schools and Milwaukee.
“As an educator, I know we need to think not only in terms of what is best for our schools, but more importantly what is best for the students,” Cullen said. “Quite simply, this law is not in anyone’s best interests except for those who want to amass power at the expense of our students.”
Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors: Supervisor Jason Haas, District 14, Supervisor Khalif Rainey, District 2, Supervisor John F. Weishan, Jr., District 16, Supervisor Eddie Cullen, District 15