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WUWM's Emily Files reports on education in southeastern Wisconsin.

GOP Leader Predicts Fall Out For MPS Over Turnaround Project

Senator Scott Fitzgerald, Facebook
Senate Majority leader Scott Fitzgerald

Reaction is intensifying to state efforts to intervene in low-performing Milwaukee Public Schools.

It began bubbling to the surface Wednesday, when the leader of the state’s Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program, quit. 

The Legislature created the program to reform Milwaukee’s lowest-performing public schools. But this week, after aseries of unsuccessful negotiations, OSPP commissioner Demond Means resigned. He indicated he could make no progress in the role.

Now, a state Senate leader said he expects MPS to face serious fall out – perhaps big budget cuts - for the lack of movement on the OSPP.

Senate Majority leader Scott Fitzgerald later told Channel 12’s Up Front program that frustrated legislators may now move more aggressively toward MPS.

“Unfortunately, I think the only hammer is – listen, if you’re not going to participate, if you’re going to try to work around the law and we’re going to end up in court over this thing, then you’re probably going to see some significant reduction in MPS revenue over schools, related to the Opportunity Schools,” Fitzgerald said. “I hope it doesn’t come to that, but I can see already that it’s being teed up that way.”

In response, MPS administration emphasized their surprise over Demond Means’ exit.

“MPS has and will continue to meet its obligations under the law,” district leaders said in a statement. “We will continue to meet with lawmakers…as they work to prepare the state’s next budget.”

Legislative leaders also say Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele has 120 days to find Means' replacement. 

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