Last October, Gov. Jim Doyle and I sought a comprehensive independent review of the finances and operations of Milwaukee Public Schools. The results of that review were released Thursday. Click here to read the report.
The data is sobering. MPS faces serious long-term financial problems because of increasing expenses, declining enrollment and the financial impacts of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program. The long term financial issues compound the district’s serious academic challenges.
In response to the review, Gov. Doyle and I will partner with State Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster and lead an effort to drive innovation, school improvement and fiscal responsibility in the Milwaukee Public Schools.
We will jointly implement an MPS Innovation and Improvement Initiative. This initiative has five main tenets:
- Create a MPS Innovation and Improvement Advisory Council that will guide the reform work and put MPS in the best position to improve student achievement and compete for federal dollars.
- Develop a comprehensive, district-wide school improvement plan that promotes innovation, accountability and results.
- Develop a state corrective action plan for MPS.
Strive for fiscal responsibility and transparency through financial and performance management oversight.
- Compete for American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) funding.
I am committed to reforming MPS, and believe this initiative is a step in the right direction. I hope that you will join my drive for reform in the coming months.
Tom Barrett is the mayor of Milwaukee.