MPS releases 2018-19 budget proposal; includes teacher cuts and fewer supplies

MILWAUKEE -- Once facing a more than $30 million budget deficit, the Milwaukee Public School District says they will have to make cuts. The school district released their more than 1,000-page, $1.2 million budget plan for next year on Friday night, April 27.

To stay out of the red, MPS says it will be eliminating 125 positions in schools, and 21 non-school based positions. The district promises cuts to the central office and schools will be buying less supplies next year.

Earlier this week, worried teachers and their supporters picketed to keep the cuts away from the classroom.

Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association (MTEA -- the teachers' union) Vice President Amy Mizialko, reacted from a conference in La Crosse.

"This budget from the outgoing superintendent reflects some of our most serious concerns and fears," said Mizialko.

Milwaukee Public Schools

The union points out while teaching positions are being cut, the district plans to add administrators.

"Cuts to classroom have to be reversed. Our children cannot sustain one more loss," said Mizialko.

Teachers are relieved once discussed plans to cut transportation and employee health benefits are not in the current budget proposal.

Milwaukee Public Schools say the budget will not close a single school, includes raises for the staff, and expands advanced classes. However, challenges remain. Deficits are expected again in years ahead -- meaning tough decisions are not going away.

While positions are being eliminated, layoffs are unlikely according to the district. The budget plan now goes to the Milwaukee Board of School Directors where there can be changes. The deadline for it to get passed is June 1.

Read the entire release on the budget from MPS below: 

"Milwaukee Public Schools' administration released the Superintendent's Proposed FY19 Budget on Friday. For the past four months, the district has worked to close a $30 million budget gap to keep budget cuts as far away from the classroom as possible.

"Stagnant revenue, rising health care costs, and declining enrollment all contributed to a financial shortfall that make this a very difficult budget year," said MPS Chief Financial Officer Thomas Conjurski. "The administration examined a number of different options, based on budget parameters from the Milwaukee Board of School Directors."

Under the Proposed FY19 Budget, eighty-eight cents of every dollar goes to support schools, students, and the largest group of district employees - teachers. Seven cents supports non-school based staff and services to schools, and the remaining five cents supports operational expenses including utilities, insurance, technology licenses and debt repayment.

Priorities maintained or enhanced in the proposed budget include:

  • Raises for staff, road to $15, and educational assistants onboarding

  • International Baccalaureate program expansion to three schools

  • Expanding Community Schools

  • No changes to employee benefits except for long-term disability (as approved by the Board)

  • Extra support for schools in need of assistance

  • No school closures

  • No reduction in transportation services

The lack of significant revenue, including funding from the State of Wisconsin, will also result in the loss of 125 school-based, full-time equivalent positions and 21 non-school based positions when compared to the 2017-18 amended adopted budget. That equates to a proposed 1.5 percent reduction in school-based positions and a two percent reduction in non-school based positions for 2018-19. However, due to vacancy and turnover, the number of layoffs resulting from position reductions will be minimal.

"Simply put, there is not enough money to support our current level of spending," said Conjurski. "The administration will work closely with the Milwaukee Board of School Directors to ensure a balanced budget, as well as implement long-range strategic initiatives to close the future projected financial gaps.""