Milwaukee Public Schools, Wisconsin
Last rated on 2013-02-25.
- Elected officials
- Administrative officials
- Administrative officials are listed with a mailing address, phone number and personalized emails.
- The school district details tax revenues and breaks them down via federal, state and local aid.
- Background checks
- Information on hiring practices and criminal background check policies is available.
- Academic performance
- Public records
- None currently
Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) is the largest school district in Wisconsin. As of 2007, it had an enrollment of 87,360 students, and as of 2006 employed 6,100 full-time and substitute teachers in 223 schools. The Milwaukee Public Schools system is the 33rd largest in the United States by enrollment. A publicly elected school board, the Milwaukee Board of School Directors, provides direction and oversight, with a superintendent heading the organization's administration. The district owns WYMS-FM (88.9), which airs an eclectic selection of music and is programmed by a local non-profit group via an LMA.
The board formulates and adopts broad policies regarding the employment of staff personnel and the administration of student personnel, educational programs and instructional materials, physical plant and equipment, finances, and public relations. The board approves administrative regulations. The board also approves budgets.  The school board is comprised of a superintendent and "such other officers as the legislature shall direct." According to the state constitution the board of education may not prevent a non−union teacher from speaking of a bargaining issue at an open meeting, as was ruled in the U.S. Supreme Court case Madison School District v. Wisconsin Employment Commission.
The superintendent is appointed by the state legislature in the same manner as members of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The superintendent can hold office for 4 years. Typically, the superintendent's office is in charge of implementing board policies and managing the day-to-day activities of the school district.
- Main article: Milwaukee Public Schools employee salaries
The Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB) helps to negotiate contracts with the teacher's union, the Education Association of Wisconsin. The website for WASB pitches "professional" assistance on collective bargaining agreements, policies, salary ranges and fringe benefit data as well as past court information. The 2009–2011 contract is available on the EAW website 
WASB legislative agenda
Annually, WASB publishes its current legislative agenda, which it separates into state and federal issues.
The largest concern at the state level is financing for the schools. WASB noted that the state budget deficit is $5.4 billion, which is near the total spending on education in the state. Therefore WASB asked that the state renew its commitment to paying 2/3 of the education costs in the state without raising property taxes, as they increased on an average of 4.9 percent between 2000 and 2005. In 2007, the school property taxes rose to 7.4 percent, which was the highest since 1992-3.
For state aid and funds WASB asks for:
- Coverage of 33 percent of the costs for bilingual-bicultural programs
- Full state funding for special education programs
- Funding to reduce the achievement gap between low income children and other children
- Fully funding the existing "sparsity aid" program
Other aspects of the money constraints include the declining enrollment of students which is placing many school boards into tight budgets. As such they are proposing:
- School boards be allowed to increase their revenues by 2 percent about current limits
- Set the low-revenue ceiling at 100 percent of the statewide average cost per pupil
- Extend the hold-harmless revenue limit adjustment for two more years (currently one year)
The WASB also calls for a more individualized assessment of students than the current Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination (WKCE) and online testing.
Teachers in Milwaukee Public Schools are represented by Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association. The primary teachers union in Wisconsin, is the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC), which is a member of the National Education Association. WEAC has listed school funding reform, health care reform, professional development and Licensure, closing achievement gaps as its legislative priorities for 2011-2012. Their mission as stated:
Individually and collectively, we - the members and leaders of the MTEA - are committed to making a difference in the lives of those we touch. Our collective vision is to advocate for quality public schools and for educators by leading, challenging, and working for change. Each day, in countless ways, we work for a better future for all members and for the students and families we serve.
|Bob Peterson, President|
|Kim Schroeder, Vice President|
|Amy Johnson, Secretary|
|Debbie Karow, Treasurer|
|Jeffery Baas, Middle School Representative|
|Doris Cahn, Substitute Teacher President|
|Tjuna Eggson, Educational Assistant President|
|Tjuna Eggson, Educational Assistant President|
|Chris Fons, Senior High Representative|
|Judith Gundry, Middle School Representative|
|Dorothy Hancock, High School Representative|
|Michele Hilbert, Intermediate Representative|
|Chuck Howard, Retired (Unified) President|
|Ray Klammer, Kindergarten/Primary Representative|
|Monica Lopez, Kindergarten-Primary|
|Bramouse Muhammad, Middle School Representative|
|Sangita Nayak, Intermediate Representative|
|Kelly Patschull, High School Representative|
|Stephanie Schneider, Kindergarten-Primary|
|Millicent Smith, MEAA Vice President|
|Wanda Welch, Intermediate Representative|
|Larry Woods, Jr., Special Education Representative|
|Michelle Wright, Special Education Representative|
The union advocates that schools need to gather more funding from the state instead of local resources and drive the new funding towards programs that help special needs, low-income, and english learners. WEAC would also like to see a financial assistance program developed for technical colleges.
For health care reform, the union has stated its support of government sponsored health care for every Wisconsin resident.
WEAC would like to see full funding for the new teacher licensure system, also known as PI 34, describing the current $1.3 million in reimbursements as "inadequate."
In order to close achievement gaps, WEAC is also advocating increasing the cost-per-pupil for SAGE, which helps fund the 15:1 teacher student radio, funding from $2,250 to $2,500.
RUSD budgeted roughly $52 million for health care in 2010-2011, but to save money in anticipation of budget cuts, it approved a raise in deductibles that began July 1, 2011. Before the high-deductible insurance took effect, insurance usage jumped by $2 million as employees used their low-deductible plan before it changed.
The change in health insurance plans is costing the district $3.4 million a month which means it is projected to spend less than the allotted $42 million a year on healthcare.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker has proposed a bill which would have school districts optionally join the state employees’ health insurance plan. Walker says the bill would save $68 million a year for Wisconsin school districts, and $224 million for local governments. WEAC is against the bill and said that it would fight its implementation.
Public Employee Union Protests
Protests erupted over a bill that would require state employees to contribute an average of 8% more to their pension and health care costs and the right to collective bargaining. Gov. Walker said that asking employees to pay half the national average for health care "is truly a modest request." Walker also denied that his proposal is trying to break the unions.
Up to 40,000 thousands of union protesters filled the state capitol in a protest that lasted for nine days. After four days of pro-union protests, the Tea Party staged a rally in support of the legislation.
To avoid a vote on the measure, 14 Senate Democrats disappeared and could not be found. They reportedly went to a hotel in Illinois. Republicans control the State Senate by 19 to 14, but to have a vote on fiscal matters, 20 senators must be present. The Senate Democrats, however, threatened to stay away for weeks. The Senate scheduled votes on other bills of interest to Democrats, hoping that they would return to vote on them.
The Assembly passed the bill just after midnight on Feb. 25, 2011. Assembly Democrats, however, tried to stall the proposal by offering more than a hundred amendments. Lawmakers extended debate for 43 hours. On Feb. 24, 2011, the Assembly reached a deal to limit amendments and debates and appeared to be close to voting on the bill. State troopers were then sent to the homes of the 14 missing Democrats, but they were not found. Democratic Sen. Jon Erpenbach said all 14 senators remained outside of Wisconsin and would not return until Walker was willing to compromise.
If the bill is not passed and signed into law before Feb. 26, 2011, a key part of the proposal is lost because a refinancing of state debt that would free up $165 million will be lost if not complete by then. Should that refinancing fall through, more cuts will be needed to balance the budget. A payment on state debt is due by March 15.
Union Benefit Cuts
State employees are unhappy with the governor's proposal that they contribute 5.8% of their salary toward their pensions, and also pay 12.6% of their health insurance premiums. The move is anticipated to save nearly $300 million over the following two fiscal years.
The governor's proposed budget also eliminates almost all union bargaining rights.
The proposal would take away most state and local workers of collective bargaining rights on everything except salary. Unions would be unable to seek pay increases above those pegged to the Consumer Price Index unless approved by a public referendum. In addition, unions also would have to hold annual votes to stay organized and would be unable to force employees to pay dues.
Republican lawmakers said collective bargaining rules must be changed so governments can avoid laying off thousands of workers. Gov. Scott Walker has said that he will have to lay off up to 6,000 state workers if the measure does not pass.
Employees who would retain their collective bargaining rights are local police, firefighters and state troopers.
In the case of a walkout, Walker has put the National Guard on alert.
More than 15 school districts, including the Madison schools were closed for four days due to teachers and staff calling in sick. Judge Maryann Sumi of the Dane County District Court denied the Madison school district requests for an injunction against Madison Teachers Inc. so that schools could reopen.
The 2012 budget is $1,193,170,913, which is an 11.83% decrease from the fiscal year 2011 budget. The 2012 budget reverts back to 2008 spending levels with a decrease of $160,106,776. 
|Fiscal Year||Approved Budget||Percent Change|
- Source: Fiscal Year 2012 Budget
In response to the budget reduction, MPS laid off 519 staff members, including 354 teachers and didn't fill 500 open positions. According to state officials, the budget cuts mean $200 less for each student. 
The Milwaukee teachers union rejected a plan to give back 2.6% of their salary to help reduce class sizes. The average base salary for teachers is estimated to be $62,800 which would make the plan worth $1,633 to the average teacher.
The MPS school board voted to end the districts supplemental pension plan. Payments to the fund were frozen and new staff members will be denied participation on or after July 1, 2013. The move will lower the pension obligations by $20 million.
Budget controversy 2010
While the Milwaukee Public School Board was trying to cut $33 million from the annual budget, the budget committee rejected a measure proposed by district administration to eliminate 15 of 17 skilled-trade painters currently receiving about $98,000 per year. The almost $100,000 price tag per painter includes salary and benefits, which each painter maintained when the board decided not to cut them.
Recently, actuaries at Gabriel Roeder Smith & Company reported a $2.398 billion unfunded liability for Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) in Milwaukee Public Schools. Over 5,000 claiming benefits for the school district do not have an educator role, and added an additional debt obligation of $55 million between 2009 and 2010.
2012-2011 Academic Performance (AYP)
The district made AYP in the categories of Test Participation and Other Academic Indicator (Satisfactory) . To miss AYP for an entire category, the district must fail to meet AYP in one or more student groups of each of the three grade levels . The district missed AYP for the student group of ‘Students with Disabilities’ for each of the last five years across all three grade levels and is the reason the district is identified as DIFI Level 5 . Over the last couple of years other student groups have also missed AYP in one or more grade levels . In 2010-11 in both reading and math, each of the three grade levels also failed to make AYP for the student groups of Black and Economically Disadvantaged (reading only) .
2009-2010 Academic Performance
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction provides a SDPR (School District Performance Report) for each district, which tracks achievement test results (grades 3, 4, 8 and 10), ACT and AP exam scores, retention rates, attendance, dropouts and truancy, among other measures.
The below chart shows the number of students in Milwaukee Public School District who scored advanced or proficient in each subject for 2009-2010, with the statewide figure in parentheses:
|Grade||Reading||Language Arts||Mathematics||Science||Social Studies|
The following schools are the charter school options in Milwaukee Public School district:
- Academia de Lenguaje y Bellas Artes
- Advanced Language & Academic Studies
- Alliance School of Milwaukee
- Audubon Technology & Communication Center
- Audubon Technology & Communication Center
- Carmen High School of Science & Technology
An evaluation of charter schools in Milwaukee is posted.
"Wisconsin's inter-district public school open enrollment program allows parents to apply for their children to attend school districts other than the one in which they reside." All students may apply to attend a different school district outside of their resident area. While they can request to attend a specific school, assignment to that school is not guaranteed even if their application is accepted, as the students apply to the school district, and not individual schools.
Students may also apply to attend virtual charter schools through open enrollment by applying to the non-resident district in which the virtual charter operates. However, Wisconsin state law "limits the number of students that may attend virtual charter schools under the open enrollment program." Students may be placed on a waiting list for virtual charter schools.
A year after the Citizens for Responsible Government launched a transparency spending database for Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Public Schools launched its own database, which will allow searches for school purchases from 2005 to 2009. There are over 432,000 invoices which archive over $2.2 billion dollars in spending in the database.
- Milwaukee Public Schools Accountability Portal
- Milwaukee Public Schools website
- Milwaukee Public Schools Spending Tracker
- CRG Network Government Accountability in Spending Project
- ↑ MPS, School Board, Accessed: Oct. 23, 2012
- ↑ MPS Accountability Portal, Elected Officials, Accessed: Feb. 25, 2013
- ↑ MPS, Administrative officials, Accessed: Oct. 23, 2012
- ↑ MPS, Taxes, Accessed: Oct. 23, 2012
- ↑ MPS, Budgets, Accessed: Oct. 23, 2012
- ↑ MPS, CAFR's, Accessed: Oct. 23, 2012
- ↑ MPS, Financial audit, Accessed: Oct. 23, 2012
- ↑ MPS, Meeting minutes, Accessed: Oct. 23, 2012
- ↑ MPS, Agendas, Accessed: Oct. 23, 2012
- ↑ MPS, Meeting schedule, Accessed: Oct. 23, 2012
- ↑ MPS, Meeting podcasts, Accessed: Oct. 23, 2012
- ↑ MPS Accountability, Contract archive, Accessed: Oct. 23, 2012
- ↑ MPS, Bids, RFPs, Awards, Accessed: Oct. 23, 2012
- ↑ MPS, Vendor list, Accessed: Oct. 23, 2012
- ↑ MPS, Background checks, Accessed: Oct. 23, 2012
- ↑ MPS, District report card, Accessed: Oct. 23, 2012
- ↑ MPS, Value added report, Accessed: Oct. 23, 2012
- ↑ MPS, Public records request form, Accessed: Oct. 23, 2012
- ↑ MPS, Public records contact, Accessed: Oct. 23, 2012
- ↑ Milwaukee Public Schools, WI
- ↑ Wisconsin Constitution,"Article 1, Section 3," retrieved July 13, 2009
- ↑ Wisconsin Constitution,"Article 10, Section 1," retrieved July 9, 2009
- ↑ WASB, Employment and Labor Law services
- ↑ WEAC -- Master agreement (PDF)
- ↑ 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 Wisconsin Association of School Boards, 2009-2010 Legislative Agenda
- ↑ MTEA Public Schools -- Elected Officers
- ↑ WEAC, School Funding Reform
- ↑ WEAC, Health Care Reform
- ↑ WEAC, Professional Development & Licensure
- ↑ WEAC, Closing Achievement Gaps
- ↑ "Mount Pleasant Patch", Racine Unified Experiences $2 Million Spike in Insurance Usage, July 6, 2011
- ↑ "Caledonia Patch", Racine Unified Budget Options: Redistricting, Closing Schools to Close Gap, January 18, 2012
- ↑ 33.0 33.1 33.2 WTAQ News, WEAC: We'll Fight Walker Health Insurance Proposal, Aug. 31, 2010
- ↑ 34.0 34.1 34.2 34.3 34.4 34.5 MSNBC.com "Wis. union vote on hold after Democrats leave state" Feb. 17, 2011
- ↑ 35.0 35.1 CBSNews.com "Wis. gov: I took "bold political move" on budget" Feb. 18, 2011
- ↑ Wall Street Journal, Union Fight Heats Up, Feb. 18, 2011
- ↑ 37.0 37.1 37.2 MSNBC.com "Wis. stalemate: Deal struck, cops sent to Dem homes" Feb. 24, 2011
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ MSNBC.com "Tea Party to rally for Wisconsin anti-union bill" Feb. 18, 2011
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ Yahoo! News "Wisconsin Democrats could stay away for weeks" Feb. 18, 2011
- ↑ 42.0 42.1 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Both sides in Wisconsin budget battle dig in deeper " Feb. 23, 2011
- ↑ 43.0 43.1 Reuters "Wisconsin Assembly approves plan to curb unions" Feb. 25, 2011
- ↑ Reuters "In Wisconsin, a jarring new note in discordant debate" Feb. 23, 2011
- ↑ 
- ↑ 46.0 46.1 The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel "Budget bill draws a crowd" Feb. 15, 2011
- ↑ The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Wis. state workers and allies descend on Madison to protest halt to collective bargaining" Feb. 15, 2011
- ↑ Reuters "Thousand of Wisconsin union workers protest budget plan" Feb. 15, 2011
- ↑ The Chicago Tribune "Walker says National Guard is prepared" Feb. 11, 2011
- ↑ 50.0 50.1 WKOW.com "MMSD denied temporary restraining order" Feb. 18, 2011
- ↑ WFRV.com "Madison schools remain closed, Fourth day in a row" Feb. 21, 2011
- ↑ 2012 Budget
- ↑ 2012 Budget
- ↑ "CNN" Milwaukee schools to lay off 354 teachers, June 29, 2011
- ↑ "JSOnline" Milwaukee teachers reject plan to give salary back, April 4, 2012
- ↑ "JSOnline" MPS to end supplemental pension program, April 5, 2012
- ↑ "Milwaukee Public Schools Has 17 Painters on Staff, at $98k/year," Watchdog.org, May 19, 2010
- ↑ "Painting with Red Ink? MPS Has 17 Painters on Staff, at $98k/year," MacIver News Service, May 19, 2010
- ↑ Watchdog, MacIver Institute: Analysis of New Data Shows Milwaukee Public Schools on Verge of Bankruptcy, Aug. 27, 2010
- ↑ MacIver Institute, MacIver Institute: Analysis of New Data Shows MPS on Verge of Bankruptcy, Aug. 26, 2010
- ↑ [http://www2.milwaukee.k12.wi.us/acctrep/district_data_report_card_1011.pdf Milwaukee District Report Card, 2010-2011
- ↑ Wisconsin District and School Performance Reports
- ↑ 2009-2010 Wisconsin School District Performance Report
- ↑ CHARTER SCHOOL 2012-2013 SCHOOL LISTING (Excel spreadsheet)
- ↑ Public School Open Enrollment
- ↑ 66.0 66.1 Open Enrollment Frequently Asked Questions
- ↑ CRG Press Release, CRG Network Applauds Milwaukee Public Schools for Publishing Online Spending Database, July 5, 2009
- ↑ MPS press release, MPS expense records now available online, July 2, 2009