By Matt Cordio
Hundreds of students at Milwaukee Excellence Charter School (MECS) might not be returning to in-person learning this fall after officials from the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA) apparently flexed their muscle to try to push out a competitor.
The union representing MPS teachers, successfully blocked a vote by the Milwaukee Board of School Directors to approve Milwaukee Excellence’s five-year lease of an MPS building needed to accommodate the school’s growth.
Founded by MPS graduate Maurice Thomas in 2016, Milwaukee Excellence is a public charter school committed to putting 100 percent of its students on a path to college acceptance through a rigorous curriculum that includes coding and computer science. The school has received a five-star ranking for the past two years and is highly regarded by several leaders in the Milwaukee business community.
The school’s current facility accommodates a maximum capacity of 537 students. MECS determined a new facility was needed to accommodate the school’s growth and has been working closely with MPS to secure a new space. Earlier this summer Milwaukee Excellence was able to negotiate a five-year lease for underutilized space at MPS’ Andrew Douglas Middle School. According to the Milwaukee Business Journal, the lease that was scheduled to start on Aug, 1 required MECS to pay $427,806 for the 2021-22 school year, with rent increasing annually to $505,168 in 2025-2026 school year.
The Milwaukee Board of School Directors was scheduled to vote on the lease at a School Board meeting last Thursday. However, the day before MPS notified the charter school that the item had been removed from the agenda. MPS officials told the Milwaukee Business Journal that the item was cut because “concerns and questions were raised that are causing us (MPS) to consider other options.” But a source close to the situation has informed me the agenda item was removed after officials from MTEA contacted the district administration voicing the union’s opposition to the lease arrangement.
The students at Milwaukee Excellence are the future leaders of our state. It is unfortunate but not surprising that MTEA unionistas are actively attempting to sabotage the growth of a school that is providing high-quality education. The MPS School Board should not act as if it is beholden to the MTEA. It should move to fix this situation immediately. We must support charter schools like Milwaukee Excellence that are training Wisconsin’s future leaders and addressing achievement gaps that leaders at MPS and MTEA have historically been unable, or unwilling to address.
Matt Cordio is a conservative small business owner from Waukesha County and founder of Protect Wisconsin Values, a grassroots organization dedicated to advancing freedom and economic prosperity across the state of Wisconsin.