Sen. Risser Predicts MPS Action in Early January

MacIver News Service

[Madison, Wisc…] Senator Fred Risser is predicting the Senate will eventually heed Governor Doyle’s call for action on Milwaukee’s public schools, but only after that city’s residents get a chance to comment publicly on the idea. Moreover, Risser is not so sure the legislature will grant Doyle’s request to turn over control of MPS to the mayor of Milwaukee.

“We have to do something in early January and we will,” said Risser in this exclusive interview with MacIver News Service.

The longest-serving state legislator in the country predicts the Senate will act on the matter in the second week of January, days before the next regularly-scheduled Senate session day, and after the Senate Education Committee’s public hearing on the issue, which is scheduled for January 5th in Milwaukee.

“I think it’s going to be early January and I think it’s going to be after we’ve had a good public hearing in Milwaukee and had an opportunity to get the input from people who are really affected,” Risser said.

While the Senate has a regularly-scheduled floor session on January 19th, that is also the deadline for the State’s application for Race to the Top federal education grant monies. .

“I think it’s possible we’ll take this up the week before then,” said Risser.

The Governor and legislative supporters of the mayoral control bill believe the state must show sweeping efforts to improve MPS in order to qualify for the most Race to the Top funding possible.

While Senator Lena Taylor has claimed she has the votes to pass the mayoral control bill, which she authored, Senator Risser says anything can happen in a Special Session.

In this interview with MacIver’s Bill Osmulski, Risser said it is possible several competing bills, including a plan by Senator Spencer Coggs, could be taken up by the legislature.