BREAKING: IRG on Milwaukee Public Schools Scandal and Resignation

Jun 4, 2024 | In The News, Press Release, Uncategorized


Last night, an auditorium and overflow crowd vented 4 decades of frustration with Milwaukee Public Schools. From low academic performance and financial scandal to unprofessional staff and lack of safety, a fed-up city felt able to say what they really feel.

The sentiment felt most widely? “We had faith in MPS. We don’t anymore.”

After 3 hours of anger and 5 hours of private conversation, the Board accepted the resignation of Keith Posley, superintendent since 2018. He was the state’s highest-paid K-12 employee, earning a $302,358 salary.

The Board avoided questions at 02:00 a.m. from the media, who admirably and ferociously covered this story. IRG has been a key school watchdog, informing the media and pointing to areas of concern.


In April, Milwaukee Public Schools passed a $252 million operating referendum just 4 years after an $87 million referendum. However, unlike other districts, some of whom have had real trouble coping with inflation, MPS is 1 of the best-funded big districts in America. Despite this, it has the 2nd-lowest graduation rate and the lowest reading scores for Black students. Additionally, the board only approved the referendum campaign in January and scarcely supported it.

The referendum barely passed at 51%. The biggest supporters were from White, middle-class neighborhoods near the suburbs and downtown.

Then, 3 waves of scandals hit. First, the district still cut nearly 300 unfilled and filled jobs in the 2024-2025 budget due to inflation and underutilized buildings, confusing families and staff. Second, the federal Department of Health and Human Services suspended MPS from Head Start early childhood education. They allege abandonment, lack of supervision, and child maltreatment. MPS would lose tens of millions of dollars if they lost the contract permanently. Third, the left-wing Department of Public Instruction publicly embarrassed MPS by threatening to suspend its state aid due to months-late, unfinished, and incorrectly finished financial documents dating back to the 2022-2023 school year. MPS will lose tens of millions of dollars in state aid because they received more than their share in 2022-2023, raising property taxes even more.


Incredibly, this affects every school district in the state and throws the Department of Public Instruction into question.

Simply, the school funds the legislature approves are divided up among districts according to need. DPI says they will be forced to move ahead using unaudited, inexact numbers from MPS to calculate the slice of the pie every school district gets this school year.

Even worse, “DPI staff has been meeting with MPS quarterly since April 2023, then monthly as of February 2024, then weekly as of March 2024, and now daily as of May 2024.” In other words, DPI was concerned enough to meet weekly with MPS before the referendum, but did not tell voters of financial scandal before they approved a large tax hike. On top of that, taxpayers around the state found out their schools would be affected by MPS after it was already too late.

What did DPI know, when did they know it, and did they suppress information that affects every school district in Wisconsin? IRG’s Center for Investigative Oversight is on it.


Milwaukee Public Schools will be led by a regional director subordinate for now and launch a superintendent search quickly.

Of Wisconsin’s 5 biggest districts, 3 will have new superintendents in 2024, Milwaukee’s and Green Bay’s having resigned in scandal. That will occur in the biggest year since COVID hit, as federal ESSER III relief will run out in September and the rigorous Act 20 reading reforms will begin.


“So ends a sad period in Milwaukee Public Schools’ history. After lengthy COVID shutdowns, the worst results in the nation, and financial scandal, will MPS step up for families? Whatever happens, IRG will continue to shine a light on public officials through our Center for Investigative Oversight, reform literacy, increase the teacher supply, support school choice, and work with anyone who comes to the table to make Wisconsin’s schools great.” – CJ Szafir, CEO, Institute for Reforming Government

For questions, reach out to Quinton Klabon at [email protected].


The Institute for Reforming Government is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that seeks to simplify government at every level by offering policy solutions to thought leaders in American government in the areas of tax reform, government inefficiency, and burdensome regulations.