MacIver News Service – [Milwaukee, Wisc…] The Milwaukee Public School district is facing a $33 million budget shortfall and administrators have said more than 680 employees could face layoffs. Yet, the MPS superintendent’s budget is set to double next year under the proposed 2011 budget.
This year the superintendent’s office was budgeted $721,111. Next year it could be getting $1,566,565, unless the MPS School Board makes changes. Much of that increase can be traced to the district’s incoming superintendent, Gregory Thornton.
Thornton will be making $265,000 in salary, compared to the current superintendent’s salary of $175,062. He is also adding new positions within his office.
Thornton has picked Naomi P. Gubernick to be his chief of staff at MPS for an annual salary of $138,671. She currently serves as his chief of staff at Chester Upland School District in Pennsylvania.
“It is always the prerogative of an incoming Superintendent to make adjustments to staff,” said explained Roseann St. Aubin, the district’s communications officer. “Dr. Thornton is pursuing the establishment of a Chief of Staff position for day-to-day assistance in operations and a community partnerships position to enhance our relationships with the community.”
A new community relations director would make $96,166. A third position, the chief academic officer, will pay $138,000. While not a new position, it hasn’t been filled in years. The last time the position was filled was in 2006, when it was part of the curriculum office, and paid $122,101.
With Thornton bringing in his own people, it’s still not known what will happen to the current superintendent’s staff, although the new budget assumes they will remain on the payroll, too.
“While he [Thorton] is in the process of getting to know people, their responsibilities and skill sets, he is assembling his core team,” St. Aubin said. “What other changes could be coming, we really don’t know.”
With the additional personnel Thornton is bringing to Milwaukee, the superintendent’s office is slated to cost taxpayers almost $1.5 million next year on salary and benefits, compared to $642,000 this year.