Sen. Coggs slams Republicans’ attempt to gut MATC Board

State Senator Spencer Coggs (D-Milwaukee) spoke at a press conference at MATC surrounded by area community leaders, students and supporters of the school to discuss the State Repubican’s 11th hour attempt to gut the MATC Board. (Photo provided by MATC)

Sen. Spencer Coggs denounced attempts by Republicans in the Legislature to make 11th hour changes to the governing structure of the Milwaukee Area Technical College that would substitute local control for state control and gut minority and other citizen representation on the MATC Board.

“In the waning days of the Legislature’s two-year session, Republicans, led by Sen. Glenn Grothman are fasttracking legislation, Senate Bill 275, that would almost immediately disband the current governing MATC board and replace it with a governing body that substitutes state for local representation,” Sen. Coggs said.

“The current members are business, education and community leaders who have for decades successfully delivered and broadened the opportunities of working men and women and their families.

“In addition, Sen. Grothman’s bill makes it a practical certainty that nearly all of the current minority members of the MATC governing board could not be reappointed to the new governing board,” Sen. Coggs said.

Sen. Coggs and community leaders held a news conference on Wednesday 29th at the MATC Student Services Building at the downtown Milwaukee campus, and a rally followed.

Also weighing in on the issue is the Milwaukee Branch of the NAACP who released the following statement:

“The mission of the NAACP is to promote equal opportunity and equal access for all citizens, regardless of their race or social circumstances. It is clearly evident that here in Milwaukee, the largest and most diverse metropolitan area in the State, there is not a level playing field where all citizens have an equal chance at life. MATC plays a critical role, providing a bridge of opportunity for many young students and adults of all ages, to acquire the knowledge and skills that allow them to be productive citizens who support themselves and their families and provide much needed services and benefit to the community.

The American Counsel on Education has stated that job training and vocational opportunities provided by technical and community colleges are critical for minority and underprivileged youth, regardless of race. The stewardship of these institutions must include persons sensitive to those issues.

Currently, the MATC board is comprised in a manner that includes diversity of background, geography and race. Why do you think Senator Grothman and Representative Honadel would want to dismantle the board and replace it with a board that would clearly be less diverse and much less representative of those who live in this community and who attend MATC? Notwithstanding the vital connection of MATC with the public schools, the new board composition would eliminate the local school board presidents, including the MPS president, as appointing authorities and it would deplete African-American and Latino representation on the Boar. Why only in Milwaukee? And with no hearing on these bills?

We must call it like it is – a blatant attack on Milwaukee and its diverse citizens. We must stand together in opposition to these amendments. We urge committee members to rise above partisan politics and vote against these bills. They are an unnecessary attack on education for all and should not be approved.” stated James Hall, president of NAACP Milwaukee Branch.