MILWAUKEE – On May 26, 2016 Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and Dr. Demond Means made an announcement on the status of the implementation of the Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program, confirming that they plan to wait on any decisions about which school the program will operate in until they are able to meet with Milwaukee Public Schools leadership.
An internal timeline contained in the proposal sent from OSPP to MPS on April 19th had a deadline of yesterday, May 25th, for OSPP to select a school for the program.
Abele and Means have stated repeatedly that they wish to reach an agreement with MPS that would protect MPS jobs, funding, enrollment, and governance, and have made several requests to meet with MPS leadership to discuss the April 19th proposal and answer any questions MPS may have in addition to the ones OSPP answered for MPS on May 9th. CBS 58 is reporting that:
“Communication seems to be stalled between Milwaukee Public Schools and a state-mandated commissioner, appointed to fix failing public schools.
State law created the Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program. The commissioner of the program, Dr. Demond Means, wants to partner with MPS, rather than remove the troubled schools from the district, but so far an agreement has not been reached.
CBS 58 obtained copies of the letters exchanged between MPS and Means. On May 5, MPS superintendent, Dr. Darienne Driver, Dr. Means a series of questions about the proposal. Dr. Means responded May 9, and sent a follow up letter May 18. Dr. Means is asking the district to form work teams to answer any remaining questions, but Dr. Means says to date, the district has not responded.
The Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program will work with one MPS school next year, and Dr. Means says he delayed deciding on the school, in hopes of working with MPS.
“We’re always wanting to wait until there is some type of sign that we’re making progress,” Dr. Means said. “In regards to the deadlines, I indicated in one of the letters that I sent to MPS that we were giong to delay our selection process in hopes we could form work teams and in the hope that we could work together to move forward with this proposal.””
In a joint statement released today, County Executive Abele and Dr. Means added:
“Even though MPS agrees with us that this law is not ideal, we are asking them to be open to a conversation with us about how we can implement the law in the most productive way possible.”