EXPLAIN IT TO ME: MPS charter attack on the run!

Apr 24, 2024 | Wisconsin Voices Blog

EXPLAIN IT TO ME: MPS charter attack on the run!


About 60 staff, parents, and students from Carmen, a higher-performing charter school network in Milwaukee, came to yesterday’s Milwaukee Public Schools board meeting to protest the surprise expulsion of them from their school buildings. Rather than debate the resolution, board members silently sent it to committee and zipped out of the meeting. Carmen supporters and opposers alike made their case to newspaper and television media, with Carmen supporters carrying the day.

Thank you, IRG email subscribers!


If you recall, MPS has several charter schools in the Carmen Schools of Science and Technology network. 2 of them share buildings with other MPS schools. MPS owns the buildings, and Carmen rents from them. As time has gone on, these growing programs have overly filled the buildings. Rather than seek a mutually beneficial resolution, an MPS board member snuck a resolution onto the agenda that would force Carmen out in 2026, giving them 2 years to locate, purchase, renovate, move in, and inform parents. Even if that occurred, such a rush would damage school culture and academics.

IRG was the first to report on the surprise attack against these schools by their own district.


On May 21st, a 5-member committee will consider the resolution. The bad news is we know the vote starts down 1-2. Director Darryl L. Jackson is a reform candidate, but Director Marva Herndon has long criticized Carmen and Director Missy Zombor introduced the resolution.

The good news is that Directors Xela Garcia and Henry Leonard have the schools in question in their districts and will face voters in April 2025. Additionally, Milwaukee Public Schools has justified delays in closing between 18 and 25 half-full school buildings by awaiting an October facilities plan. Waiting for that plan gives the board justification to pump the brakes without looking like “charter school supporters.”


Your advocacy is working! Milwaukee-area residents can attend the meeting at Milwaukee Public Schools Central Office on Tuesday, May 21st, 05:30 p.m. Additionally, people anywhere can email [email protected], though IRG encourages you to be calm and factual.


School board members content with the status quo rely on inattention, boredom, and confusion by voters. Successful parent movements across the state, including this one, use board documents, calm force of numbers, and politically influential local leaders to improve things for kids.


“The battle has been won, but not the war. Milwaukee’s leaders are now aware that MPS is sabotaging its own success. Other cities across Wisconsin have shown that parent voices are powerful. They will win the day in Milwaukee too.” – 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.