Milwaukee Public Schools have been served a potentially costly notice from the state, an action the district’s superintendent said caught him off guard. State Department of Public Instruction Superintendent Tony Evers said it’s legal notice to the state’s largest public school district, letting MPS know that he may take action to withhold millions of dollars in federal funding.

And, Evers said it’s also a call to action for the district to complete correction actions requested by DPI. “We are telling the district that we are prepared to do this, and that the progress they’ve made on the requirements that we’ve collectively agreed to, isn’t happening, that the documentation isn’t there,” said Evers. But MPS Superintendent William Andrekopoulos said there have been ongoing, good faith discussions with the state agency, to address the corrective actions. “There are literally hundreds of things in this plan that they want us to do,” said Andrekopoulos. “The more important ones are improving the performance of our children, which we believe we’re working on, and we actually have documents that we’re doing that.”

Evers said DPI could not afford to wait any longer, and that the district has thirty days in which to appeal. Andrekopoulos said it’s now being looked over by MPS attorneys. Evers said the notice has nothing to do with the ongoing debate over mayoral control of MPS. Andrekopoulos said it came out of the blue, and called the timing in the midst of the budget season “appalling.”

AUDIO: Bob Hague reports (1:20 MP3) AUDIO: Bob Hague reports (1:20 MP3)

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