Approved MPS budget to create 45 additional positions

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The 2013-2014 Milwaukee Public Schools budget approved Tuesday night, June 11th will bring 45 additional art, music and physical education teacher and librarian positions into MPS schools.

Art will see the biggest boost between 2012-13 and the upcoming 2013-14 school year under the plan, growing by about 25 full-time teaching positions. Most K-5 and K-8 schools across the district will see funding for art, music and physical education teachers double.

"For the very first time as superintendent, I will really see a noticeable difference in the standard of care we're going to be able to provide kids," said MPS Superintendent Gregory Thornton.

It's the first time the district has added teaching positions since 2011.

"I've asked principals to take away for years.  Now, I'm saying hey, we're going to start putting things back and these are things I think are going to enhance the quality of life for children," said Thornton.

The move, which builds upon an art/music/physical education boost put in place for the current 2012-13 school year, is consistent with what students deserve and what parents list as their priorities. Parents have ranked more art/music/physical education specialist teachers as a top priority in the district’s budget survey for two straight years.

Overall spending in the budget passed by the Milwaukee Board of School Directors – including school operations, grant funds, building expenses and Milwaukee Recreation – is now set to fall 2% to $1,170,867,945 in 2013-14 from $1,194,450,752 in 2012-13.

The proposed budget also continues implementation of the rigorous Common Core State Standards, which set clear expectations for what students learn in each content area and grade level, through the district’s comprehensive literacy and math/science plans.

Other highlights of the budget proposal include:

  • Implementing the College Board’s SpringBoard pre-AP program in five schools
  • Planned expansion of the academically successful International Baccalaureate program
  • Creation of an additional arts-focused elementary school option on the northwest side
  • Redesign of Bay View Middle and High School to develop a high-achieving academic program
  • Approval of four new charter schools, bringing the total number of non-instrumentality charter schools to 16

The budget also builds upon efforts already underway, including:

  • Continued effort to give academically-successful schools room to grow
  • Expansion of programming at District Parent Resource Centers
  • Additional Response to Intervention efforts to provide support for students struggling academically
  • Revamped Gifted and Talented programs
  • Expansion of Learning Journeys, MPS’ exclusive beyond-the-classroom learning experiences, to more grade levels