'They are in over their heads': Some leaders, stakeholders want to see changes in MPS referendum after financial mess

NOW: ’They are in over their heads’: Some leaders, stakeholders want to see changes in MPS referendum after financial mess

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- As more comes to light regarding financial turmoil at Milwaukee Public Schools, some stakeholders are asking the school board to let taxpayers off the hook for the spring referendum, which passed in April.

"Dr. Posley's removal perhaps was necessary, it's not sufficient for true change," said Alderman Scott Spiker of Milwaukee's 13th District.

Spiker held a media conference Wednesday, calling on the Milwaukee Public Schools Board to immediately hold a special hearing on the proposed 2024-2025 budget, allowing the public to be heard.

"Talk to the people who are paying for the referendum," Spiker said.

He also wants to see a 25% reduction in their $252 million referendum.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce is calling for a full suspension.

"The Milwaukee Public School Board needs to immediately announce that they are not moving forward with this referendum," said Dale Kooyenga, president of MMAC. "The referendum gives them the ability to raise property taxes, it doesn't require them to raise property taxes."

Kooyenga said he believes the MPS board's financial mishandlings eroded the trust of taxpayers.

"The first step when you actually go to pass a budget is to know what your starting point is. They don't even know what their starting point is," he said.

"It sounds like they badly need outside help. They are in over their heads," Spiker said.

MMAC sent a letter to MPS Board President Marva Herndon on Wednesday, offering to help with financial and performance audits.

"We want to see a vibrant healthy Milwaukee Public Schools, and we have the business sense, we have the expertise, we have the financial acumen to get in there and say here's how you can make improvements," Kooyenga said.

Ald. Spiker also told media Wednesday, he hopes MPS will not make any cuts to teachers and support staff, and instead will examine what could be cut from Central Administration.

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