Vote down the political takeover of MATC board

I believe the attempt to radically change the makeup and selection of the Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) District Board of Directors has nothing to do with education or job training and everything to do with politics and race.

Currently the MATC Board is selected by an Appointment Committee made up of educators who are elected twice: School Board presidents in the 21 K-12 Districts within MATC’s boundaries are elected first by the citizens of their communities and second by fellow board members.

This system was designed to put educators, not partisan politicians, in charge of selecting the MATC Board. However, the GOP proposal would put county politicians in charge. By giving Washington and Ozaukee Counties equal power in the selection with Milwaukee County and by eliminating any voice from the City of Milwaukee, or from educators, this proposal would make MATC a political football.

Additionally, the proposal smacks of racial disenfranchisement. Fully 57 percent of MATC’s students come from the City of Milwaukee. Further, a majority of MATC’s students are from racial minority groups. In fact, MATC has more students of color than the rest of the state’s colleges and universities put together.

Yet the Republican plan would give 50 percent of the power to politicians from almost entirely white communities that provide only 19 percent of MATC’s funding, equal to the power of Milwaukee County that provides 81 percent of the funding.

By eliminating employee positions on the Board and disqualifying citizens who work for nonprofit organizations and small businesses, this proposal is a clear attempt to prevent racial minorities from serving on MATC’s Board.

The Grothman/Honadel bill has been developed in secret with no public hearings in either Madison or Milwaukee. This undemocratic power grab should have never seen the light of day and should be voted down.

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