Milwaukee Public Schools Will Spend Almost $500,000 Pushing Black Lives Matter

Blake Neff | Reporter

Public schools in Milwaukee, Wisconsin are planning to spend nearly $500,000 of taxpayer money implementing a program that furthers the goals of Black Lives Matter.

The $471,073 outlay in the proposed 2016-17 budget for Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) is included as one of many partnerships the district is pursuing with outside organizations.

The partnership with Black Lives Matter is described as an effort to create a “cultural studies curriculum” and improve school performance through the “facilitation of meaningful dialogue and support on issues surrounding race and trauma faced in communities and schools.” MPS officials told WISN radio that about $261,000 of the budget will be used to pay for the salary and benefits of three social studies teachers dedicated to the program, while about $210,000 will be used to finance training for staff in the school district.

Elsewhere in the budget, the outlay is described as a part of the Obama administration’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative.

$471,073 is budgeted to support the ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ initiative by collaborating with branches of government, local businesses and community organizations to increase the number of males of color who are succeeding academically and socially. Efforts include ensuring that culturally responsive teaching practices are in place at all schools, enhancing the district vision for student participation in a wide range of after-school activities and supporting trauma-informed care.

It’s unclear what precisely is meant by “culturally responsive teaching practices.”

Interestingly, MPS officials told WISN that, despite the name of the allocation and its description as a “partnership,” the program won’t actually team up with an existing Black Lives Matter organization. Instead, it is merely intended to partner with people who share the movement’s concerns and goals.

The spending appears to be a new addition, as it does not appear in MPS’s 2015-16 budget.

The budget is not final yet — a May 24 hearing is scheduled to discuss it.

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