He downplayed his previously stated interest in mayoral control of the district, but said all options for control of the district should be explored.
“I’m not interested in a power grab,” Barrett said. “I’m interested in MPS performance. But confidence is not high right now.”
Barrett made his comments after a Journal Sentinel investigation this week of the district’s neighborhood schools plan. Despite spending $102 million to expand schools, MPS failed to reduce busing as hoped or attract more students to local schools, leaving a trail of empty or severely underused building additions. Many of the schools that got new classrooms and other improvements also have seen a decline in student test scores.
Two School Board leaders, reacting to the mayor Thursday night, said a study would merely duplicate one soon to get under way.
The mayor said that in recent months, he has stepped up his behind-the-scenes efforts regarding the “very stressed” district. He said he has been talking with a firm that specializes in financial and operational reviews of urban school systems
Related Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel editorial:
And now, thanks to the in-depth reporting this week by the Journal Sentinel’s Alan J. Borsuk and Dave Umhoefer, we know that the district has wasted millions of taxpayer dollars on the failed Neighborhood Schools Initiative.
What isn’t known precisely is how bad things are.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said Thursday he wants to hire a consultant to do an audit of the district. The audit would be paid for, he hopes, by local foundations. Previously, the School Board had ordered a “long-term stability” audit to be performed by Robert W. Baird & Co., the district told reporters.