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Gov. Evers calls for new audits of Milwaukee Public Schools • Wisconsin Examiner

Gov. Tony Evers called for new “operational and instructional” audits of Milwaukee Public Schools on Friday following its failure to submit key financial data to the state. The failure has led the Department of Public Instruction to withhold $16.6 million in state aid and caused the district’s superintendent to resign.

Evers said in a statement that families, taxpayers and the Milwaukee community deserve honest and transparent answers to their questions and that the audits would help identify the extent of the problems and drive future conversations. The last time a similar audit effort was conducted was 15 years ago under former Gov. Jim Doyle. 

“The purpose of the outstanding MPS audit is to examine the district’s finances for the sole purpose of meeting statutory reporting requirements. That audit is critically important, but it is not comprehensive,” Evers said. “I’m proposing today to go two steps further with two important goals: the first, to audit MPS’ programs and operations in their entirety, and the second, to audit the effectiveness of teaching and instruction of our kids in classrooms across the district.”

State Rep. Chris Sinicki (D-Milwaukee), Sen. LaTonya Johnson and Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley stated their support for the audits, saying they would help provide the necessary information to work towards greater transparency in the district.

“Accountability and transparency are the way forward and we need answers in order to address these challenges, identify solutions, and move forward,” Crowley wrote on social media. “I’m looking ahead to working with local leaders to ensure every possible tool is provided for Milwaukee County students to succeed.”

Evers said his administration would oversee the audit in collaboration with DPI. According to spokesperson Britt Cudaback, Evers is proposing to hire outside, independent auditors to conduct both audits.

Republican leaders criticized Evers’ call for the audits, saying that he shouldn’t use auditors within his administration. 

“And who do you think [Evers] will suggest conducts the audits?” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) wrote on social media. “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?”

“We need real reforms to the current mentality where MPS has been protecting the bureaucracy and Gov. Evers has been advocating for shoveling hundreds of millions of dollars into this broken system,” Vos continued.

Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg), who said he was glad Evers called for the audits, said the governor should use the nonpartisan Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) to conduct the audits, rather than outside contractors. Evers and DPI would need to work with the co-chairs of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, Sen. Eric Wimberger (R-Green Bay) and Rep. Robert Wittke (R-Racine), to authorize an LAB audit.

“The LAB is more than capable of handling this important undertaking independently and transparently without the use of outside contractors,” LeMahieu said in a statement.

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originally published at https%3A%2F%2Fwisconsinexaminer.com%2Fbriefs%2Fgov-evers-calls-for-new-audits-of-milwaukee-public-schools%2F by Baylor Spears

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