MPS Superintendent to make cuts elsewhere to ‘place money back in the classrooms’

MILWAUKEE -- A surprise victory for those opposing cuts to Milwaukee Public Schools. The interim superintendent said he is not making any cuts as previously proposed -- despite a $38 million deficit. On Friday, May 25, teachers and others who are happy with the announcement started plans to find money elsewhere.

Interim Superintendent Keith Posley said the school system will look towards cuts in the central office first.

"I feel I needed to place money back in the classrooms so we can make sure our young people get off to a great start in the upcoming school year," Posley said.

But is that too optimistic an outlook with MPS facing a $38 million deficit?

Keith Posley

The Wisconsin Policy Forum is a group that's been analyzing the MPS budget for years and says the crisis is far from over.

"There are some deep underlying problems that are linked to the lack of revenue growth that they're experiencing from year to year," Rob Henken with the Wisconsin Policy Forum said. "Some very fierce expenditure pressures that are linked to fringe benefits and you add these up and it creates a very difficult budget environment towards Madison."

The teachers union said it is standing behind the new budget, and will work towards changing the funding system in the state.

Amy Mizialko

"Is there a way to sunset private vouchers over a period of four years? Absolutely," Amy Mizialko, Teaching and Learning Director with the Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association, said. "And to transition those families to public schools, it can absolutely be done."

Alex Brower, head of substitute teachers for the union, went on a 21-day hunger strike for health insurance for substitutes. On Thursday night, May 24, 125 benefited positions were proposed.

"I'm back to eating because we didn't get everything we wanted but we got enough to start," Brower said.

Alex Brower

One big effort we'll be seeing is an enrollment drive for Milwaukee Public Schools. Teachers and school board members will be going out in the community on school buses to recruit students.