Just about everyone in Milwaukee knows what the acronym MPS stands for.
After all, the Milwaukee Public Schools plays a pivotal role in shaping the lives of our children.
Yet the people elected to lead the sprawling school system don’t always get the attention they deserve, despite the fact that their leadership can impact generations.
With school board elections taking place April 2, we thought we would give you a handy primer to understand what’s at stake:
What exactly is the school board?
The Milwaukee Board of School Directors comprises nine members — eight representing numbered districts and one at-large member. The at-large member may fill a seat that is temporarily vacant, if a special election is not held, and votes with the rest of the board.
The board defines its districts so that each represents an equal number of households. To find your district, click here.
Directors serving currently are:
Who are the candidates completing their terms this spring?
Sain, Harris, Voss and Falk complete their terms in April. Only Harris is running for re-election. Candidates seeking election to the vacant seat in District 3 will be on the April 2 ballot.
How long is the term of office?
Four years. Directors may run for as many terms as they wish.
How much do directors make?
The salary is approximately $18,000 per year plus health and dental benefits. The position is considered part time and some directors have full-time jobs in addition to their work on the school board.
What do I need to know about meetings and other ways to follow what the school board is doing?
Regular board meetings are usually held on the last Thursday of the month, unless that falls on a holiday. Committee meetings and regular board meetings generally begin at 6:30 p.m.
Meeting dates and times may change, so it is best to confirm with the Office of Board Governance by calling (414) 475-8284 or clicking on the “Agenda List” link in the right-hand column on the Eletronic School Board website.
Unless otherwise noted on the website, all meetings are held in the Donald J. O’Connell Memorial Auditorium of the MPS Central Services Building, 5225 W. Vliet St.
All board meetings are broadcast live on radio 88.9 FM and board and committee meeting are livestreamed here.
The school board’s Beyond the Board Room initiative also provides a newsletter and a number of other opportunities for more communication with school board directors.
What are the major responsibilities of the school board?
The school district educates its students, hires employees, takes care of MPS’ facilities, including a number of district-owned parks, arranges school bus contracts and the like, Sain, said. The board chooses and works with “the CEO of the district,” the school superintendent, Sain said, to make sure laws and policies governing these activities are followed.
Coming up: The candidates and the issues