Public hearing held regarding MPS budget plan

MILWAUKEE — For the first time since Milwaukee Public Schools’ budget plan was released, parents and teachers got a chance to speak their mind Thursday, May 10th.

The district says eight schools will close, and 400 positions will be cut in the 2012-2013 budget plan. MPS Superintendent Gregory Thornton says some of the positions will be reached through retirements and currently unfilled positions, but layoffs will not be avoided.

One by one, those concerned took to the microphone to share their thoughts on a plan to cut 400 positions from Milwaukee Public Schools. Parents like Andrew Lyon are wondering what these cuts will mean for his two children. “I feel like we’re already stretched as far as we can possibly be stretched,” Lyon said.

With rising costs and an expected drop in students, school leaders say they are forced to make tough decisions, but promise to keep or add electives like art and physical education at every school.

Parents say the programs are actually being cut at their children’s schools. “This coming year, with the budget they are proposing, it is going to be half an hour every two weeks,” one parent said.

Carmen Fernandez has three kids at the Milwaukee Public Schools German Immersion School. She would like to see parents and individual schools decide how their budget is spent.

Tony Tagliavia, a spokesperson with Milwaukee Public Schools says the superintendent will listen in the coming weeks. “He is open to looking at the flexibility of allowing students to spend dollars on teachers where they have demonstrated they have a history of providing students with great opportunities,” Tagliavia said.

The School Board will take a vote on the plan in June.

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