The Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA) President, Amy Mizialko, filed a formal complaint with the City of Milwaukee’s Ethics Board on Thursday alleging a conflict of interest that violates the City’s code of ethics regarding a $630,000 contract awarded to Howard Fuller and the Institute for the Transformation of Learning (ITL) at Marquette University to direct the operations of the City Charter School Review Committee (CSRC).
Three More Years
The complaint was submitted prior to Thursday’s 5:30pm CSRC meeting. At this meeting the CSRC is expected to take up an agenda item to possibly renew a 3 year contract with Fuller and the Institute for the Transformation of Learning. The contract renewal would engage Fuller and ITL to provide services administering the operation of the CSRC – the same government body responsible for authorizing and evaluating Fuller’s own private charter school, Milwaukee Collegiate Academy.
The City of Milwaukee Code of Ethics prohibits any official or city employee to take any action in which the official “has substantial financial interest” or to “use his or her office in a way that produces or assists in the production of a substantial benefit, direct or indirect, for the official…or an organization with which the official or employee is associated.” MCO Sec. 303-7(1)(a-b).
Managing the City Charter Renewal/Revocation Process
The specific work Fuller and ITL would be contracted for in 2019-21 is outlined in a Sept 21, 2018 memo to the CSRC. According to this memo, ITL would administer the operations of the city CSRC including contract management, budget development, managing the charter school application process, managing the application process and charter renewal/revocation process, responding to public requests, and preparing reports for the CSRC and Common Council.
MTEA’s ethics complaint alleges that Fuller and his charter school, Milwaukee Collegiate Academy, may receive a “substantial benefit” based on how Fuller and ITL use their service as the administrator for the CSRC.
Fuller’s City Charter School – Milwaukee Collegiate Academy
Fuller’s private City charter school, Milwaukee Collegiate Academy has had questionable academic performance over the years. In 2013-14 MCA expelled 16% of its students–10 times more than Milwaukee Public high schools.
In 2016-17 MCA served out of school suspensions to one out of every three students.
The Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association and Schools and Communities United are calling on the CSRC to postpone their decision on a contract renewal with Fuller and ITL until the Ethics Board can review the allegations and conduct a complete investigation.