MILWAUKEE – A proposal from Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and Dr. Demond Means, commissioner of the Opportunity Schools Partnership Program created by state legislature last summer, meets the law while preserving funding for Milwaukee Public Schools, retaining student enrollment, and protecting MPS jobs.
That’s according to a formal legal opinion issued by Milwaukee County Corporation Counsel Paul Bargren on May 5th, 2016.
The proposal, submitted to MPS on April 19, 2016, ensures that 1) teachers and employees at struggling schools would retain their status as MPS employees, while retaining high licensing standards, ensuring they remain members of their union and keep their MPS employee benefits, including healthcare and retirement; 2) students would remain enrolled in MPS; and 3) per-pupil funding received from the state would be returned back to MPS.
Amid questions raised about the legality of the proposal, and specifically whether employees could retain their membership in their union, Dr. Means and County Executive Abele sought a formal legal opinion. Corporation Counsel determined that, per the agreement, OSPP could legally return per-pupil funding received from the state back to MPS, that the MPS Board of Directors could reserve governance input, and that “staff at the OSPP school will remain MPS employees, their union membership rights will be the same as any other MPS employees.”
View a copy of the opinion here.