MPS board members don’t understand basic business principles

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Today the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran another story about the Milwaukee Public Schools budget for next year. I’ve pointed out recently that MPS expects a drop in enrollment of almost 5%. Yet spending is going up 1.5%. That’s a gap of 6.5% that they can’t explain.

But if you want to know why MPS is so bad at managing its money, it takes only this statement from a school board member to show you why: Continue reading

Proof That MPS Sucks

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I recently wrote a couple of articles here about the Milwaukee Public Schools budget situation (students down by almost 5%, but spending up AGAIN) and my opinion that MPS teachers are grossly overpaid. Of course, teacher advocates have fired back with comments that not every school district pays as well as MPS, that we should disregard the $30,000 to $40,000 of benefits MPS teachers get each year because it’s not “salary,” and that teachers are generally overworked and underpaid.

No one has successfully convinced me yet that teachers anywhere are overworked. Even if I believed that teachers worked 8 to 10 hour days (I don’t), they still work the equivalent of a part time job because of summer and the multiple school holidays. The 180 school days worked by teachers are the equivalent of 36 weeks worked (5 days worked per week). Compare that to the average professional who works 8 to 10 hour days for 46 to 48 weeks per year, and it’s clear that teachers work part-time. Continue reading

Milwaukee Teachers Crying About Having to Teach Children to Read

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Today the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran a typical story about the poor teachers and the poor students in Milwaukee. How dare they be required to teach things like reading and mathematics, and how dare the students actually be tested to see if they’ve learned these skills!

The story reports on a meeting of 100 Milwaukee Public Schools employees who wanted to cry about conditions in the classroom. Their biggest gripe appears to be the lack of funding for arts and trades (carpentry, plumbing, etc.). The meeting was sponsored by Network for Social Justice and the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association. Continue reading

MPS Student Enrollment Will Decline, Budget Will Grow (Surprise!)

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Of course no one is surprised by this. Milwaukee Public Schools, one of the worst and most wasteful school districts in the United States will have a decline in enrollment, but has proposed an increased budget. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that enrollment will decline next school year by 4.7%.

Yet the budget for MPS is growing slightly. The paper reports that as a “flat” budget compared to the prior year, but the working is clear that it is an increase.

Why is the budget growing when the enrollment is decreasing by almost 5%? The enrollment in MPS has been steadily declining… so much that the enrollment figures are expected to be 20% lower than they were just 10 years ago. Yet year after year, the district’s budget just grows and grows.

What private sector business would stay afloat if it kept losing customers in large numbers, but continued to increase spending? None. Government entities live in a fantasy world because they know they have the ability to dip into the pockets of taxpayers at will. There is absolutely no incentive for MPS to control costs, and to date, no one has held the district accountable for its wasteful spending.

Why Patrick Byrne is a horrible spokesperson for school vouchers

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I am in favor of school vouchers. It has worked well in Milwaukee. Don’t let anyone tell you any different. Is the system perfect? No. But the public schools here are terrible, and at the very least, the voucher program gives children an alternative.

Does the voucher program help everyone? No. Some parents are not involved with their children and don’t really care, so they don’t utilize the program. But for the low-income households with parents who care, it has been fantastic. Continue reading