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Evers Calls for Audits of Milwaukee Public Schools Amid Financial Issues

Evers Calls for Audits of Milwaukee Public Schools Amid Financial Issues

June 7, 2024 12:50 PM CDT

By: Stuart J. Wattles

MILWAUKEE, Wis (Civic Media) – Gov. Tony Evers is calling for operational and instructional audits of Milwaukee Public Schools, expanding the review beyond the district’s ongoing financial audit. The move comes as MPS failed to submit required annual financial reports and had $16.6 million in state aid temporarily withheld.

Evers said the comprehensive audits he is proposing would examine MPS’ programs, operations and instructional effectiveness – areas not covered by the current audit focused solely on the district’s financial statements.

“Parents and families, taxpayers, and the greater community rightfully have questions, and each and every one of those questions deserves honest and transparent answers,” Evers said in a statement. “For any meaningful conversation about possible solutions to happen, the first step is to fully identify the extent of the problems.”

The audits would be overseen by the Evers administration in collaboration with the state Department of Public Instruction. Evers said he would direct federal funding to support the reviews.

District Loses $16M in State Aid

The call for broader audits comes after DPI announced it was withholding MPS’ $16,623,612 June special education aid payment. In a letter to outgoing Superintendent Keith Posley, DPI said the money was being held because the district failed to submit required financial reports for months despite warnings. Posley resigned this week amid the district’s financial issues. MPS has hired former Waukesha superintendent Todd Gray to help review its finances.

The district said in a statement it is finalizing a corrective action plan to complete the overdue reports, allowing it to receive the special education funding and its general state aid on time.

Evers said he was “exceedingly disappointed” by political opportunism around MPS’ issues and that the focus should be on improving the district.

“MPS is the largest public school district in our state and serves thousands of Wisconsin’s kids—no one should be hoping for its failure or using this moment to push partisan agendas or sharpen political talking points,” the governor said.

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