'Nothing left to cut:' Teachers, students, parents to picket against budget cuts to MPS

MILWAUKEE -- MPS parents and students will join the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association outside the Milwaukee Public Schools Central Office on Tuesday, April 24  for an informational picket against budget cuts to MPS schools. Public education workers will be calling on MPS to keep budget cuts away from the classroom.

This stems from growing concern over the district's $30 million budget deficit for next school year. Demonstrators are calling on the school board to keep proposed budget cuts out of the classroom.

An MPS spokesman pointed to stagnant revenues, declining enrollment and rising costs as reasons for the projected $30 million budget shortfall. One controversial proposal involves establishing near-site clinics for health care, saving $700,000 per year.

The deepest cuts could involve transportation, with the Milwaukee French Immersion School on the city's north side possibly dropping transportation for the 13 percent of students who live more than seven miles from the school.

The picket will get underway at 4:30 p.m.  -- ahead of tonight's school board meeting. A final budget won't be presented to the board until May.

Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association Vice President, Amy Mizialko released the following statement:

“The proposed MPS budget cuts are an attack on every MPS student and public education worker. As educators, we have a moral obligation to attend to our students’ needs and we cannot in good conscience allow our students to return next year in these conditions. We have no other choice but to fight until the funding is restored.

“Slashing school budgets will impact every single student in MPS. Our schools can no longer afford basic supplies like paper, pencils, staples or even band-aids. Textbooks are tattered and there aren’t enough to go around. Some schools don’t even have enough desks for students.

“Schools are losing counselors, social workers, art, music, and physical education programming. Elementary schools are losing reading intervention teachers. Class sizes in the early grades are spiking to 30-40 students per class and middle and high school classes sizes are up to 40-50 students.

“Our students’ needs are not part-time, yet schools are not given the funding for full-time social workers, counselors, librarians, and nurses. Instead these vital positions are being reduced and split between numerous schools.

“MPS cannot cut school budgets, because there is nothing left to cut!”