In case you missed it Tuesday night, Milwaukee voters approved a much-talked-about $252 million referendum for Milwaukee Public Schools. But just barely—unofficial totals posted Wednesday show 51% of votes (41,586) in favor of the referendum, and 49% (39,866) opposed.

Why the referendum? As previously explained in these pages by The Recombobulation Area’s Dan Shafer: “The ask from MPS is to raise property taxes to increase funding for the schools, to the tune of $252 million. Projections from the district say the cost would be a tax increase of $216 per $100,000 of assessed property value, a significant increase for many taxpayers. Without the funding, MPS says it would face a $200 million budget shortfall in the next school year. This could mean a 13% cut for schools and a 26% cut at the central office.”

On Wednesday morning, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Keith P. Posley sent a letter to MPS families and staff, thanking them for the win. “We do not take your decision lightly,” Posley said. Here’s the full letter:

Dear MPS Families and Staff,

On behalf of Milwaukee Public Schools, I want to express my gratitude for your support of the referendum. I am thrilled that Milwaukee voters chose to provide essential resources for our students by increasing the revenue limit to fund our schools.

We do not take your decision lightly. Your support means every school in our district will receive more direct funding to classrooms; and programs like art, music, physical education, library services, and career and technical education will remain intact.

On average, schools will receive a 10.7% increase in their budget for the next school year. Offices, and other parts of the budget, will be maintained or reduced to streamline district services and set us up for long-term financial success.

This is truly an investment in our children and the future of the City of Milwaukee. On behalf of our students, thank you to all of you for this critical support. We will continue to do great things for our students, and we look forward to continued success in the next year.

In the days and weeks ahead, we will be certain to provide you with continuous updates about our plans to invest in our students. Please visit for more information.


Dr. Keith P. Posley
Superintendent of Schools

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