By Evan Casey
Keith Posley is hoping to turn things around at Milwaukee Public Schools quickly following his selection as the interim superintendent by the Milwaukee School Board. Posley officially began his term last week Monday, following former superintendent Darienne Driver’s departure.
Among his main goals, Posley said he hopes to ensure fiscal achievement and accountability, a hot-topic debate for many educators in Wisconsin after the 2018-2019 MPS proposed budget that was released in late April includes the elimination of 125 positions in schools. Posley also hopes to increase “academic achievement and accountability,” and strengthen communication, according to his entry plan.
“Public education changed my life,” said Posley in a press release. “It expanded my world. I want all MPS students to have the same opportunities to grow, learn, and excel.”
Posley began his career as an educator at Benjamin Franklin School in 1990 as an elementary school teacher. He was promoted to the principal of Clarke Street Elementary School in 1999. He received a visit from President George W. Bush after he received an award for being 1 of 8 “exemplary principals.”
Posley was also previously the chief school administration officer for MPS, and was the leadership specialist for the MPS northwest region, where he oversaw day-to-day operations of 35 schools.
Posley released his entry plan last week, and in it he says he supports “fiscal responsibility and transparency,” something that many community activists and leaders say they want. The plan also said that Posley will meet with members of his finance team and senior leadership to discuss future budgets.
However, the 2018-2019 proposed budget has already been making ripples throughout the community.
“Stagnant revenue, rising health care costs, and declining enrollment all contributed to a financial shortfall that make this a very difficult budget year,” said MPS Chief Financial Officer Thomas Conjurski in a statement. “Simply put, there is not enough money to support our current level of spending.”
The Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association has been fighting the proposed budget saying the proposed cuts will hurt students in the long run. The budget will now go to the Milwaukee Board of School Directors where changes can be made. The budget must be passed by the school board by June 1st.
Posley was not available for an interview this week. He says he will be visiting schools soon and he wants community members to submit feedback on his entry plan by visiting the MPS website at mps.milwaukee.k12.wi.us.