Tony Evers calls for audits

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Tony Evers is calling for new audits of the state’s largest school district amid a financial crisis that led to the resignation of the district superintendent and pushed the state Department of Public Instruction to withhold millions in state funding.
“The purpose of the outstanding MPS audit is to examine the district’s finances for the sole purpose of meeting statutory reporting requirements.
Evers’ Friday announcement comes after MPS lost a superintendent, a comptroller and nearly $17 million in state funding after failing to submit audited financial reports to the state to outline the district’s financial position.
The former state superintendent told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Friday that MPS has likely never lost that much in state funding.
Jilly Gokalgandhi, vice president of the Milwaukee School Board, said she welcomed the governor’s proposed audits, along with plans by city officials to help the district with its accounting.
To that end, Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley said in a statement he supports Evers’ audits.
Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson said he spoke Friday morning with Evers regarding the audits.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, the state Legislature’s leading Republican, blasted Evers for the idea, however.

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Madison: The governor of Wisconsin. Tony Evers is demanding additional audits of the biggest school district in the state in the midst of a budgetary crisis that forced the district superintendent to resign and forced the state Department of Public Instruction to withhold millions of state funding.

Before being elected governor in 2018, Evers oversaw the state Department of Public Instruction. On Friday, he said that while a comparable audit of Milwaukee Public Schools was conducted fifteen years prior, the district has not since been subject to the same level of scrutiny.

“The outstanding MPS audit’s sole goal is to examine the district’s finances in order to comply with legal reporting requirements. Though incomplete, the audit is extremely significant, according to a statement from Evers. “Today, I’m putting forth a proposal to take things a step further with two crucial objectives: first, an audit of MPS’s entire program and operations; and second, an assessment of the quality of education provided to our children in classrooms throughout the district. ****.

The announcement made by Evers on Friday comes after MPS lost a comptroller, a superintendent, and almost $17 million in state funding due to their inability to provide the state with audited financial reports that detailed the district’s financial situation.

It’s unlikely that MPS has ever lost so much in state funding, the former state superintendent told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Friday.

He claimed that “if it did happen, it was a very small amount for a small issue.”.

The Milwaukee School Board’s vice president, Jilly Gokalgandhi, expressed her support for the governor’s suggested audits and the city officials’ intentions to assist the district with its accounting.

Gokalgandhi expressed his gratitude for the mayor’s and governor’s support. We’re excited to collaborate in order to give our children and families the best possible results. “.

In spite of being more than eight months behind schedule in filing its financial reports, the district is rushing to put together a corrective action plan in order to convince state representatives that it deserves to keep receiving tax funding.

That plan did not inspire confidence at first glance. After looking over two of the district’s draft plans this week, the state DPI is not happy.

Under the social media platform X, Associate Deputy State Superintendent Thomas McCarthy stated that the organization “made it clear we need a real plan, we are committed to help them get there, and we believe they understand what we need to be able to move forward.”. “.”.

There have been calls for Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson to assume partial control of the district’s operations in an effort to restore stability amidst the turmoil.

Although he doesn’t think a takeover of this kind is always the solution, Evers said on Friday that he is in favor of the county and city governments getting more involved.

Anything we can do to ensure that this is an all-hands-on-deck solution is appreciated, he said, acknowledging the significance of connecting the dots.

In light of this, Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley declared in a statement that he concurs with Evers’ assessments.

“We need to take immediate action for our residents, families, and children,” said Crowley. “The path ahead lies in accountability and transparency, and in order to confront these issues, find solutions, and proceed, we need answers. “.

Speaking with Evers about the audits on Friday morning, Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson said.

He declared, “That’s the kind of partnership and that kind of action that we need to improve schools.”.

However, Evers was chastised for the idea by leading Republican in the state Legislature, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos.

“And who do you think @govevers will suggest conducts the audits? The same failed DPI bureaucrats who allowed this to happen or his administration who wanted to dismantle the school choice system so all kids were forced into this MPS mess?” Vos asked in a post on the social media post X. “We need to make significant changes to the mindset that currently exists, where MPS is defending bureaucracy and Gov. Evers is pushing for hundreds of millions of dollars to be thrown into this dysfunctional system. “.

The governor’s office claims that Evers can hire the auditors without obtaining permission because their fees would come from state taxes.

The audits would result in “a thorough examination and assessment of the district’s systems, processes, and procedures to pinpoint areas for enhancement” as well as “a thorough examination and analysis of instructional practices, methodologies, and policies, which could encompass, among other things, assessments of learning environments in schools and classrooms, professional development policies and practices, curriculum implementation, and leadership, among other domains. ****.

“There are legitimate questions from parents and families, taxpayers, and the larger community, and each and every one of those questions deserves honest and open answers,” Evers stated. “Determining the full scope of the issues is necessary before having a meaningful discussion about potential solutions. In order to steer those upcoming discussions, the audits I’m recommending today must be carried out. “.”.

There will be updates to this tale.

You can contact Molly Beck at molly . beck@jrn . com and Rory Linnane at rory . linnane@jrn . com.

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