Milwaukee superintendent resigns after mismanagement puts millions of state dollars in jeopardy

Angry Wisconsin parents forced their superintendent to resign after a letter from the state revealed the district was being badly mismanaged.

Milwaukee Superintendent Keith Posley became mired in…

Angry Wisconsin parents forced their superintendent to resign after a letter from the state revealed the district was being badly mismanaged.

Milwaukee Superintendent Keith Posley became mired in controversy when the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) threatened to withhold millions in state education funds until Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) reported on its financial data.

Parents made their voices heard at a school board meeting on Monday.

“The board has shown a shocking disregard for transparency and accountability,” said Milwaukee resident Tamika Johnson.

“The letter from DPI is an embarrassment to MPS and to the city,” said parent Craig Frizzell.

“We no longer believe in you,” added Maria Penager.  

Local media reported the crowd at the meeting chanted “Fire Posley” and “Keith Posley has got to go.”  

The letter from DPI, dated May 24, explained MPS repeatedly failed to provide multiple financial reports, some of which are now eight months overdue. Until the data is submitted, DPI will withhold millions of education dollars from MPS. And since DPI needs to submit its own report in June, MPS doesn’t have long to get its act together.  

“They’ve got a week or so, a week or two, to put forward a plan that we can have confidence in,” DPI Executive Editor Sachin Chheda said.  

Because MPS is the biggest school district in Wisconsin, its funding has a ripple effect on the whole state.  

“We have to make sure that, a month from now, when we deliver aid estimates to the rest of the state, that those are as accurate as possible,” Chheda explained. “That’s why we are riding MPS hard.”  

Meanwhile, state lawmakers criticized the district for its lack of competence.  

“These reports were due last September, and here we are – we’re almost in June, and these reports aren’t done,” said Sen. Duey Stroebel, R-District 20. “We really [have] to question the capability of MPS to behave as a school district.” 

Posley officially resigned after Monday’s meeting. He will continue receiving his salary of $303,000 until the end of June and be given a $160,000 severance payment.  

His resignation agreement stipulates his departure isn’t an “acknowledgement or admission by the Board or Dr. Posley of any liability or wrongdoing whatsoever under federal, state or local law.”