© 2024 Milwaukee Public Media is a service of UW-Milwaukee's College of Letters & Science
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
WUWM's Emily Files reports on education in southeastern Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Senate sends bill to break up MPS to Gov. Evers for a likely veto

Milwaukee school
Emily Files
Lincoln Center of the Arts middle school in Milwaukee.

A bill to break up Milwaukee Public Schools is headed to Gov. Tony Evers for a likely veto.

The proposal from Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) would split MPS into between four and eight districts. Darling said something needs to be done to improve academic results in MPS.

Assembly Republicans passed the bill in February. On Tuesday, Senate Republicans did the same, which sends the legislation to Evers.

Unlike in the Assembly, in the Senate, one Republican spoke against the bill during floor session. Sen. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) said splitting MPS into multiple districts would just duplicate bureaucracy. He criticized MPS’s central office, located on Vliet Street.

"There is a huge problem in Vliet Street in that building," Kooyenga said. "It is a building focused on the adults, not the kids. They are focused on their pensions and their careers and they are not focused on the kids."

Democrats who represent Milwaukee also opposed the bill, saying it would further segregate students. Sen. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) railed against MPS’s poor academic results, but she told Republicans this isn’t the solution.

"I’m sick of our children failing," Taylor said. "We are not a commodity, we deserve better, and whether anybody stands with me or not, we can do it. But this is a flat-out no."

MPS officials have said that breaking up the district would disrupt children’s education and take away families’ choices. MPS allows students to attend schools anywhere in the city rather than following a neighborhood schools model.

Gov. Evers said he is likely to veto the MPS legislation. His idea to help schools is to spend some of the state’s $4 billion surplus on education. Milwaukee schools and business leaders called on Republicans to support that plan, but the Legislature did not take up Evers’ proposal.

Editor’s note: A portion of the audio is from WisconsinEye.

Have a question about education you'd like WUWM's Emily Files to dig into? Submit it below.


Emily is WUWM's education reporter and a news editor.
Related Content