New rules on the way for Milwaukee Public Schools teachers

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The union contract for teachers in Milwaukee Public Schools expires on Sunday, June 30th. Now, a new contract is expected to be replaced with an employee handbook.

State law now bans school districts from negotiating a new contract. So the school board for MPS is expected to pass its replacement -- a 50-page document known as the employee handbook.

"We wish there was not an Act 10.  We wish we could bargain collectively, we think that is our democratic right. But until that time, we plan on working directly with the administration," said Bob Peterson, President of the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association.

Peterson says the handbook is what it is. Unlike other school districts in the state, his organization was able to sit down with administrators to help draft new requirements found in the handbook. Their collaborative efforts are evident among the pages. For example, seniority still exists as a factor in regards to moves such as a request to change schools.

But the handbook makes it clear, teacher performance is a larger factor. If you need some proof who's in charged, check out page three. The handbook states, "The district may modify or eliminate the terms described in this handbook at any time."

"We have a commitment from both the school board administration that they are not going to do that on a regular basis," said Peterson.

Milwaukee Public Schools officials refused to talk to FOX6 News about the rules in the new handbook until after the school board approves them. A vote is planned for Thursday, May 30th.

One Milwaukee School Board member agreed to talk with FOX6 News about this story. But late Wednesday afternoon, a spokesperson for the district cancelled the interview.

Many school districts in southeast Wisconsin have already switched to a handbook including Whitefish Bay, Cedarburg and Kenosha.