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Advocates demand accountability at Milwaukee Public Schools ahead of possible superintendent discipline

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(The Center Square) – Milwaukee’s superintendent could soon be out of a job.

The city’s school board is set to meet late Monday afternoon to talk about Superintendent Keith Posley’s future.

The meeting comes after blowback from Milwaukee parents over proposed budget cuts, a threat from the state to withhold millions of dollars in school aid and a demand from activists in the city for “accountability.”

“These are serious violations that directly call into question MPS’ financial stewardship of taxpayer dollars. We are dismayed, though not surprised, that our concerns have been proven well-founded – and we repeat our calls that Milwaukee cannot afford for business as usual to continue at MPS,” City Forward Collective Executive Director Colleston Morgan Jr. said Friday.

Posley has not answered questions about how MPS missed last year’s deadline for a pair of state-required financial reports.

Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction last week threatened to withhold $15 million in general state, and special education dollars from Milwaukee Public Schools.

“Families are now at risk of having to pay even more in additional taxes than MPS officials indicated during the referendum campaign. This is the direct result of MPS’ own mistakes and mismanagement of public funds – nothing short of a violation of the public trust,” Morgan added.

Voters in Milwaukee approved a $252 million tax increase for MPS back in April.

The sales pitch for that referendum was to avoid deep cuts to Milwaukee schools. But Posley’s latest budget, which was supposed to be finalized last week, includes nearly 300 jobs cuts. About half of those are teaching jobs.

Morgan also took issue with what he sees as a double standard when it comes to the mistakes of MPS.

“If issues of this magnitude had occurred at a public charter school or a private school participating in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, the school in question would be subject to severe sanctions – up to and including closure or loss of eligibility for public funding. Milwaukee Public Schools should be held to at least the same high standards for financial accountability as our city’s charter and private schools,” Morgan added. “MPS should face the same rigorous scrutiny and oversight as any other school operator would for these persistent and systemic failures.”

MPS’ board says Monday’s meeting will include a closed-door session on Posleys future and possible discipline, as well as a public hearing on those missing financial reports.

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