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Analyst: Barrett's Gov Run May Kill MPS Power Transfer


MILWAUKEE (WRN) - At least one analyst says Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett might have killed the idea of giving the mayor control the city’s troubled school district. Janet Boles, a professor emeritus at Marquette, says Barrett’s candidacy for governor could doom the measure – which Governor Jim Doyle is trying to get lawmakers to pass before the year ends. In Boles’ words, “We have a lame duck governor trying to empower a potentially lame duck mayor of Milwaukee.” But 2 Milwaukee Democrats who support the change – Senator Lena Taylor and Representative Pedro Colon – say the issue is not about Barrett, because the change would stay in effect after he leaves office. Also, Colon says it would force the next candidates for mayor to state their views on education issues. UW-Milwaukee analyst Mordecai Lee says Barrett’s candidacy for governor might actually help the Milwaukee school proposal. That’s because Democratic lawmakers might want to show support for Barrett by endorsing something he favors. Barrett and Doyle both say the mayor’s control would make the schools more accountable than under the current elected School Board. But the Senate’s majority leader says he won’t take up the bill unless the Milwaukee community itself shows support for it. Doyle says it would help Wisconsin qualify for millions of federal education stimulus dollars.