Milwaukee school officials say budget item listing $471G for Black Lives Matter a misunderstanding

An item in the Milwaukee Public Schools' proposed budget listing $471,073 for Black Lives Matter has critics fuming, but district officials said Monday it is all a misunderstanding.

Although the budget draft lists the controversial activist group, whose members have called for attacks on police officers, as the recipient of the funds, school officials said much of the money would go to hiring and training three social studies teachers.

“No funding is going to any Black Lives Matter organization,” Tony Tagliavia, a spokesman for Milwaukee Public Schools told in a statement. "The specific expenditures, which are also outlined in the budget proposal, are for three social studies teachers and staff development for other employees.”

The funding would also pay for a “cultural studies curriculum” which aims to “[ensure] 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..."

When asked what role Black Lives Matter would play in the training and curriculum development, school officials said the budget is funding both staff and curriculum that is being developed by staff in conjunction with an advisory council that includes community, parents, educators, staff and students.

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Nearly $500,000 of taxpayer dollars in Milwaukee will be going towards the creation of a “cultural studies curriculum” based on the tenets of the Black Lives Matter movement which will pay for not only the salaries of three teachers dedicated to the program, but for training as well.

"The focus is on racial disparities and inequities in education that must be addressed," the Milwaukee School District official said to in a written statement.

Kyle Olson, founder of Wisconsin-based schools watchdog Education Action Group, said the Milwaukee School District has a reputation for wasteful spending and poor performance. If Black Lives Matter is involved in training and curriculum, taxpayers and parents alike should be worried, he said.

“All I’ve seen from ‘Black Lives Matter’ is a fomentation of hatred against the police, increased racial division and making excuses for the combination of poor parenting and failed policies from big city liberal politicians,” said Olson.

The story was initially reported by local radio station WISN 1130 AM, which cited the line item in the proposed 2017 school budget listing $471,073 for “Black Lives Matter.”