MPS

Emily Files / WUWM

As 2019 comes to a close, we’re looking back at some of Wisconsin’s most important education stories of the year – many of which will continue to play out in 2020.

The year started on a high note for public school advocates, with Democratic Gov. Tony Evers taking office. Evers spent his career in education, eventually becoming Wisconsin’s superintendent of schools, and then ousting Republican incumbent Scott Walker for the governor’s seat in the November 2018 election.

Emily Files

In April, Milwaukee Public Schools will ask voters to approve a property tax referendum for the first time in 26 years.

The school board decided Thursday night to ask for $87 million in additional revenue. This would allow the district to exceed state-imposed property tax caps.

READ: MPS To Consider Referendum For Educational Programming

Emily Files

Raising money through voter referendums has become a common tool for school districts across Wisconsin because the state restricts their taxing authority. And now the state’s largest district, Milwaukee Public Schools, plans to follow suit.

The last time MPS attempted to raise taxes through a referendum, voters shot it down. That was in 1993 and leaders were seeking $366 million for building projects. Now, more than 25 years later, the district plans to try again on the April 2020 ballot.

Emily Files / WUWM

As part of our Beats Me series, we spotlighted Milwaukee Public Schools parent coordinators, who are tasked with the on-the-ground work of connecting families and schools. But that mission extends beyond a single person in each building.

Emily Files / WUWM

Tjuna Eggson has worked in Milwaukee Public Schools for more than 20 years. Twelve of those years, she’s had the title of ‘parent coordinator.’ "One of the things that I found out is the position is really underrated," Eggson says.

Emily Files

Milwaukee Public Schools is gradually improving on state report cards that measure school districts' overall success.

The report card for the 2018-19 school year, shows that even though MPS struggles with test scores, it's getting better at closing achievement gaps and advancing student growth. But the district is still one of the lowest-ranking in Wisconsin.

Emily Files

This week, Milwaukee Public Schools formed a new community task force that will guide the district's decision on a potential spring tax referendum.

The task force will recommend priorities that a voter referendum could support, like small class sizes or increasing the number of school counselors. But the MPS Board has already charged forward with new multimillion-dollar commitments that may strain the district’s budget.

Alesandra Tejeda

Updated on Oct. 31 at 1:28 p.m. CT

A criminal case is proceeding against Riverside University High School student Eddie Seaberry, 20, who was charged with one count of making terrorist threats.

The criminal complaint against him describes the Facebook post that led to Seaberry's arrest, in which he is allegedly holding a BB gun and threatens to kill people who called him dumb. The police received calls about the post from the Riverside principal and parents of students.

Emily Files / WUWM

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction released standardized test results for public school students Thursday, and there’s not much to celebrate.

Students’ mastery of both English language arts and math declined compared to the previous year, with just about 40% of students proficient in each. Students were making progress in math previously, but that trend did not continue this year. English results have declined for a couple years.

Emily Files / WUWM

This spring, Milwaukee Public School leaders agreed to reinstate employee salary schedules, which provide workers with predictable raises based on experience and education level.

It’s a compensation system that MPS eliminated after Act 10 deprived unions of most bargaining powers. Now, the district is reversing course with the goal of stabilizing its workforce.

Emily Files

Students at Milwaukee Parkside School for the Arts in Bay View were welcomed with a red carpet and drumline Tuesday morning at Milwaukee Public Schools' back-to-school celebration. 

MPS’s approximately 76,000 students are back in classrooms this week. They might not know it, but there’s a new team of leaders making decisions that will affect them at the local and state level.

Emily Files

The MPS Board is expected to consider a proposal this fall that would raise minimum music requirements for schools. The proposal is the culmination of a year-long effort by teachers to increase student access to music education. 

On a recent morning, Ronald Reagan High School teacher Erica Breitbarth was leading her chamber choir students in a rehearsal of Edward Elgar’s 'As Torrents in Summer.'

Emily Files / WUWM

Do you have ideas about how to improve Milwaukee Public Schools? District leaders want to hear them.

MPS is asking residents to take an online survey and attend public listening sessions about what it takes to create ideal schools.  

Emily Files

In his first months as superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools, Keith Posley announced an ambitious goal: that MPS math, reading and writing scores would surpass the state average within five years.

Emily Files

The new, union-backed Milwaukee School Board was responsive to employee concerns as it adjusted and approved the district’s $1.2 billion budget for the upcoming school year.

In a marathon meeting Thursday night, the board shifted dollars to provide increases for things like mental health staff, restorative practice leaders, and bilingual education.

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