So tonight is the big night for the Milwaukee Public Schools Board of Directors.
MPS is currently working through a $33 million budget deficit from last year, and Superintendent William Andrekopoulos has proposed cutting as many as 680 employees to bridge the gap.
The MPS Board will vote on the budget tonight.
Will they lay off teachers (based on seniority, not on merit)?
Will they institute massive furloughs?
Will some board member, just one, make a point about the 100,000 dollar a year in-house painters the ridiculous checks written to motivational speakers or the $3 million that’s gone out the window to a consultant who is arguably making things WORSE at 5 MPS high school?
Although overall enrollment and student performance in Milwaukee Public Schools has been down for years, administrator salary increases have made huge gains.
MPS lags its big-city peer districts in reading and math scores and has been listed as a “District Identified For Improvement” by the US Department of Education since 2006. While the district saw its enrollment decline by more than 8,000 students during those years as well, some MPS administrative salaries have jumped by nearly 40 percent since 2006.
Most likely there will be a lot of gnashing of teeth and tearing at ones clothes over the unfairness of the state aid formula (more money is the only solution to our problems!) and a sincere hope and a prayer that the feds come through with a bailout.
At MacIver, we’ve spent a lot of time and resources covering the mess at MPS, and for good reason.
The state taxpayers pay for more than half of MPS’ bloated budget. A wasted dollar at MPS is not only more than 50 cents out of state taxpayers’ collective pockets, it is more than 50 cents that isn’t going to other school districts in the state. Another irrefutable fact: the entire state has been paying for the failures of MPS for decades in the form of higher taxes to pay for the mounting costs of the state-funded social service and criminal justice budgets.
It is not merely about dollars and cents, though. We’re failing to educate these kids and the collective apathy is actually playing an active role in retarding their future ability to be successful, productive members of society.
The failures of Milwaukee Public Schools impact Wisconsin’s economy as much, if not more, than any nationwide economic slowdown; therefore, the votes taken tonight by a handful of elected school board members in Milwaukee will impact the entire State of Wisconsin for years to come.
You would think even more folks would be paying at least as much attention to the problems of MPS…
Our complete MPS coverage can be found here.
We’ll have more, to be sure, tomorrow and in the days to come.
By Brian Fraley
A MacIver Institute Perspective