Milwaukee Public Schools Wasteful Spending Exposed

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It has long been a mystery how a school system as bad as Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) can spend over $14,000 per year per child.On a daily basis, the school district is spending $3,287,671.23 a day, 365 days a year.

At that rate of spending, you’d think they would have something to show for it. Instead, 61% of 10th graders students can’t read and 71% can’t do math. Their two excuses have been not enough money (thoroughly debunked) and bad home lives of children (also debunked based on results in other urban school districts). Continue reading

Wasting More Taxpayer Money at MPS

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I know you’re not surprised anymore. I’m not surprised. Milwaukee Public Schools officials spent district money to go to a conference in Philadelphia, and the employees didn’t even attend the conference.

The problem is that when you’re wasting thousands of dollars of taxpayer money to do it, someone needs to be held accountable. I’m not surprised at this. MPS teachers don’t even go to the annual “convention” that they’re supposed to attend. A few peons show up and fraudulently sign in for others who don’t go. So it’s clear that cheating in regards to conferences/seminars is a systemic problem in MPS. Continue reading

More Wasting of Taxpayer Money by MPS (Surprise!)

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The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran this story a few days ago, and it’s just so indicative of the mismanagement of the district from a financial standpoint. No one in the private sector would get away with wasting billions of dollars and not be held accountable. Yet the district will again spend almost $1.2 billion or almost $14,000 per child. And not be held accountable.

Here’s the latest demonstration of ineptitude. Back in 2000, someone had a reasonable idea: Let’s get children back into neighborhood schools instead of busing them all over the city. We’ll save money because of reduced transportation, and we’ll have students in schools in their own neighborhoods… investing families in the neighborhoods and hopefully improving the city.

The cost of the Neighborhood Schools Initiative? $102 million. Add the interest on the debt used to pay for the program, and it will cost $175 million. Continue reading

A teacher’s perspective on the problems in Milwaukee Public Schools

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This was posted as a comment on one of my articles on the budget problems at Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). Although I believe most of what this person says, I do know from looking at the database myself that there are plenty of teachers making $80k to $100k a year when you add the excessive benefits packages to their salaries. Notwithstanding that, I think there are many valid points here that deserve to be highlighted in a separate post such as this.

I have taught in the state of Wisconsin for 11 years. My first 7 seven years were for MPS. My last four have been in the suburbs. I currently hold a masters degree and I can state for a fact that I have and never will earn anywhere close to $80,000. I can also state with assurance that the MPS union is extremely weak. If you talk about bringing the union in the administration laughs. The union is a joke now. The administration will make your life miserable for your attempt, though. The teachers (what few there really are) are not getting the money. The union is not getting the money, and the schools are not getting the money either. It is the top heavy administration that is not part of the teacher’s union and negotiates it’s own contracts that profits. Continue reading

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

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.

I Never, Ever Want to Hear That Teachers Are Underpaid Again.

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Quite by accident, I came across a database listing teacher salaries and benefits for the metro Milwaukee area. The database allows you to enter any teacher or administrator’s last name, and see the value of their salary and benefits for the 2006-07 school year. This is all public information that is required to be made available by the Department of Public Instruction.

I know a few teachers in the area, and I knew they were well-paid. But I had no idea how much. For all of the teachers that I entered into the system, I came up with salaries in the range of $50,000 to $70,000 per year, and benefits in the range of $30,000 to 40,000 per year.

That means the teachers I know, who all have experience in the range of 5 to 15 years, are being compensated in the neighborhood of $80,000 to $110,000 for working part time. Continue reading