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Milwaukee School Board Fractured Representation

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A Race For Half of Riverwest The upcoming April 5 election for Milwaukee School Board members is potentially confusing to Riverwesters. Like our representation on the City Council, our representation on the School Board is split between two officials. The northern part of our neighborhood, which includes La Escuela Fratney at 3255 N. Fratney St. and Gaenslen K-8 School at 1250 E. Burleigh St., is in District 3, represented by Kenneth L. Johnson, whose term expires in April 2007. Charlene Hardin, Incumbent The southern part of Riverwest is in District 4, represented by Milwaukee School Board Vice President Charlene Hardin. Neighborhood and nearby schools in District 4 include Pierce Elementary School, 2765 N. Fratney St.; Holmes School, 2463 N. Buffum St.; and Malcolm X Middle School, 2760 N. 1st St. Ms. Hardin is being challenged for her seat in the upcoming election by Bernadine Bradford. Charlene Hardin was first elected to the Board in 1997, and re-elected in 2001. She has been described as “anti-voucher, pro-public education.” She has been active in pushing for reforms in the Milwaukee Public Schools. She has supported the establishment of a Purchasing/Transportation Committee within the Board to eliminate favoritism in awarding MPS contracts. She has also advocated for removing the cap on Black teachers within MPS in order to help solve staffing problems. Hardin was in the news last September during controversy surrounding the closing of an MPS Charter School, Afro Urban Institute, 600 W. Walnut St. During a committee discussion that became heated prior to the decision to close AUI, Board Member Hardin suggested that the school was not given as much help as other schools in the district, and demanded accountability from MPS Superintendent William Andrekopoulos. Bernadine Bradford, Challenger Bernadine Bradford is the challenger for the District 4. Ms. Bradford is a parent, a teacher, a Milwaukee Public School (MPS) graduate, and has earned a B.A. in Business Administration and Marketing from Lakeland College. She served as an MPS substitute teacher in many of the elementary, middle, and high schools on Milwaukee’s north side. She has also earned an M.S. in Exceptional Education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Ms. Bradford considers herself “a strong believer in parental involvement and the collaboration of the business and educational community at large.” Of greatest importance to her is procuring “adequate resources to serve ALL children.” Giving a “new vision ” to the school board is high on her post-election agenda. “The future of our community depends on our children,” Bradford states. “We must invest in them, and the fundamental place to start is the school system.”
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