MILWAUKEE -- Thousands of students in Milwaukee said goodbye to summer vacation and hello to a new school year on Tuesday, September 5th.
There was a celebration at Walt Whitman School, marking the official first day for students on Milwaukee Public Schools’ traditional calendar, after early start schools began on August 14th.
“As you all know, at MPS, we love it so much we do it twice," MPS Superintendent Darienne Driver joked.
The students may have been the stars, but there were plenty of big name guests there to greet them. That included Governor Scott Walker, who took a quick break from trying to finalize the state budget.
“That’ll be a big boost for schools like this and others, where we’ll put more actual dollars in K-12 education than ever before. Our schools are doing well," Walker said.
Superintendent Driver said she was disappointed to see funding for summer school taken out of recent budget proposals.
“We’re demonstrating that summer school is a wise investment for this community, and we just have to keep producing the results so that there aren’t any questions as to why Milwaukee does or doesn’t need these resources. There’s evidence that we do," Driver said.
Also on hand -- State Superintendent Tony Evers, who met face-to-face with Walker for the first time since Evers announced he would run for governor in 2018.
"I treat him with respect because the governor is the governor," Evers said of their interaction now that they're opponents. "And when I beat him and I’m governor, I expect the relationship will be the same."
Politics aside, Driver kept the focus on the kids. Early childhood literacy is up throughout the system, and the class of 2017 earned a record $63 million in scholarship money last year.
“I love the first day of school. It never gets old. Seeing all of the students come back with their families -- you walk into the classrooms and everything is in perfect order, and the teachers are just so on point and so excited," Driver said.
Here's to a great 2017-2018 school year!