By Cassandra Lans
Two weeks ago a proposal from a Milwaukee Public School Board member was made to rein in the powers of the board president by giving more authority to the vice president. MPS School Board president Dr. Michael Bonds was the target of the proposal, and the proposal was approved in a scaled-back form by the committee.
The Legislative, Rules and Policy Committee adopted a resolution that says the president and the vice president should consult with the superintendent, the director of the Office of Board Governance and the director of the Department of Accountability in planning board agendas and talking about matters that may occur at board meetings.
The resolution also calls for the president to get input from the vice president before approving board member travel, and that any travel that does happen should be reported back to the board.
This proposal was brought forth by Board Member Larry Miller. In response to this action, Dr. Bonds reportedly said that Miller’s proposal was “sour grapes” because Bonds rejected Miller’s suggestions as to who to put in charge of certain committees during the Board’s April organizational meeting.
Miller reportedly stated that the proposal would give the board more checks and balances given the added scrutiny local government has come under of late.
When it was announced last Wednesday that the board may have an opportunity to rescind the committee approved measure because it may violate state statutes regarding school board governance, the community responded.
Thanks to a public outcry generated by radio station WNOV 860 AM talk show host Sherwin Hughes, who revealed to the public at large what some school board members were up to, the community turned out and attended the school board meeting held last Thursday.
The community showed its support for Dr. Bonds and made their voices heard. And in the end, Board Member Larry Miller made a motion to place the proposal on file, which in effect kills the proposal.
Therefore, for this subject to come up again, a new proposal would have to be made.
The community demonstrated that they believe that Dr. Bonds has done a great job of leading the board and addressing the challenges of providing a quality education in the face of rising costs and state budget cuts to education, not to mention the expansion of Parental School Choice and Charter Schools.
It was also recently reported that the district’s 2013-2014 budget give MPS schools more art, music, physical education classes and library positions.