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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Endorsements: Milwaukee Public Schools Board

Board President Peter Blewett and Michael Mathias

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MPS Board President Peter Blewett Deserves Another Term

MPS Board President Peter Blewett is the best choice for voters in District 6, and he’s the best choice to lead the board in the coming years. Blewett is a strong advocate for public education in Milwaukee and his fight to get adequate funding for MPS shows that he’s willing to dig in his heels and do what’s right for the district instead of caving in to special interests.

Blewett has focused on getting more f u n ding for M P S , which is only fair , since the city has a disproportionately large share of students from low-income families and those who need special education. That has made him the target of criticism. But what’s the alternative? Kids learn in smaller classes, from talented instructors and with up-to-date, quality materials. Students need a robust curriculum that cludes music, the arts and languages. costs money. But our kids deserve it and city requires well-educated graduates lead us in the next decades.

Under Blewett’s leadership, the board has instituted changes that require time show results, such as increasing budgetary transparency and accountability. Blewett has made MPS Board member Michael Bonds the board’s financial watchdog—a great move that will reap results for taxpayers. The board also created a public/private partnership to add funds for arts education. It’s already brought in $5 million for kids. And MPS has been fighting for more state funds for the district, which has penalized by the multiple funding flaws created by the voucher school system.

Blewett is no pushover. That has not deared him to some in this city. But it’s cisely that quality which makes him a strong advocate for our city’s students—especially those who can easily fall through the cracks if they aren’t supported by our public cation system. Voters should cast their lots for Peter Blewett on April 7.


Michael Mathias for Milwaukee Public Schools Board

District 4 candidate Michael Mathias would be a welcome addition to the Milwaukee Public Schools board of directors. Voters would be wise to support him wholeheartedly and expect him to represent the district honorably and intelligently.

Mathias, who works in the development office of the Medical College of Wisconsin, has impressed us in interviews with his insights into the problems that plague MPS, and his willingness to sift through potential solutions to find the best outcomes, regardless of ideology. Mathias is more concerned about the education of our children than he is in representing special interests who seek to influence the board’s decision-making. His independence will be an asset, but his admiration for the work of MPS Director Michael Bonds, a financial expert who’s tackling tough problems in the Peter Blewett, who pushes back against shortsighted policy initiatives, is a good indicator of how Mathias will act once on the board. Mathias struck us as a smart advocate for the city’s public education system, and taxpayers will trust his judgment in the coming years. Mathias will be the kind of public servant that will makethis district—and this city—proud. He deserves voters’ support on April 7.