09 May

Strip Clubs, Milwaukee Aldermen, and Bribes

For years the owners of strip club Silk Exotic were trying to open a strip club in downtown Milwaukee. They knew there was a market for what they had to offer. There were already a handful of strip clubs in or close to downtown, but for some reason, they couldn’t get approved.

Eventually, the Silk owners won a jury verdict of more than $400,000 against the city, but that still didn’t get them their strip club. Milwaukee appealed the verdict and lost. When they added attorneys fees to the jury award, the city was on the hook for more than $968,000.

Milwaukee didn’t want to pay Silk the money, so Silk’s owners made them an offer: Let them open a strip club, and they’d forgo the jury award. Silk finally opened its strip club in downtown Milwaukee last year. Read More

04 Mar

Fail to Educate Children, Get a $7.1 Million Bonus Courtesy of the Taxpayers

In what may be a flipping of the bird to Milwaukee taxpayers… Gregory Thornton, outgoing superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools gave out $7.1 million in bonuses. $3.5 million of the loot was given to support and administrative staff in January, and $3.6 million is being given to teachers and psychologists in March. This is considered a bonus for employees, which Thornton said is to thank them for their hard work.

I have ranted at length in the past about MPS, its failure to educate students, its highly compensated teachers, and wide scale waste of resources. Despite sky-high spending per child in MPS, the district still fails to educate the children. In 2013, less than half of 4th graders and 8th graders tested proficient in math and less than half were proficient in reading. Waaaay less than half.  (And lest you buy the phony argument that the poor results are simply because these are urban kids, know that other urban school districts do quite well at educating children.)

So yes, the fact that the majority of students in MPS cannot read or do math certainly means that the administration and staff should get bonuses funded by taxpayers! That was sarcasm, in case you missed it.

21 Dec

Milwaukee Public Schools Suck (For the 83rd Time)

Only in Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) is uncertainty about the future a massive problem that no one can do anything about. (Doesn’t every business face uncertainty about the future? Aren’t they unsure of how many customers they will have? Doesn’t the changing world mean that what they’re selling may have to change?)

Only in MPS does declining enrollment not save the school in any money. That’s right folks. The number of students in Milwaukee Public Schools has been declining for years. More than ten years ago, the student population in MPS hovered near 100,000. But everyone still talks about it like it is yesterday. The district has had more than 10 years to adjust spending according to enrollment. So what’s the big deal? Read More

10 Sep

Chicago Public School Teachers: It’s Not About the Children

I’ve written several times here about Milwaukee Public Schools and the problem with the teachers, the administration, the pay, and the cost structure in general. MPS is not alone. Today Chicago teachers are on strike because city officials won’t agree to raise their salaries 19% or 25% or 30%.

Teachers often complain about their working hours and their pay. But the bottom line is that when you factor in the hours they work, teacher compensation is at or above that of many other professional positions. Read More

21 Jun

What Milwaukee Public Schools REALLY Spends Per Child

Today the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on an analysis of school spending. According to a report by the U.S. Census Bureau called Public Education Finances: 2010, Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) had 82,096 students in 2009-2010, revenue of $1.27 billion (p. 75), and expenditures of $1.26 billion (p. 77). It also reported “current spending” of $14, 019 per student in MPS.

Except there are a couple of problems with this $14,019 figure, mainly that it does not reflect all of MPS’s spending. Read More

12 Jun

School Spending Per Child: Milwaukee Public Schools Versus Other Public Schools and Private Schools

I have written plenty about Milwaukee Public Schools and their failure to educate children, despite their out-of-control spending. Teachers and administrators always claim that more money is the answer to all their problems. And the money is for the children!!!

This is obviously not true: Read More

18 Feb

The Myth of “Reduced Budgets” for Wisconsin Schools

This week, public workers’ unions in Wisconsin are up in arms because Governor Scott Walker has issued a budget which seeks to strip the unions of many of their bargaining rights. He wants to make the union members pay their fair share for their pensions and health care costs, and the unions aren’t having it! If Walker’s budget passes, public employees’ unions will only be able to negotiate on compensation, not on benefits.

Of course, the first cry from the teachers is that IT’S FOR THE CHILDREN and this budget should not pass. They, along with their private sector supporters, are claiming that teachers are underpaid and that school budgets are being cut.  Neither are true. They further claim that forcing a rollback in the lavish (yes, lavish) benefits of teachers will create a shortage of teachers. I disagree. Read More

14 May

Someone is Finally Starting to Talk Sense at MPS

No one is really solving the money problems at Milwaukee Public Schools, but finally the school board is at least talking sense about some of the costs. Last night the school board made it clear that if MPS teachers want the district to restore teaching positions (particularly in elective-type areas like art and music), they would have to help the district cut costs.

The teachers in MPS are overpaid, thanks to the hard work of their union. The problem with MPS is not “lack of funding” which is often cited. It’s the employee costs. In March it was reported that the average MPS teacher salary is $56,500, with an average benefits package of $43,505,  for total average compensation of $100,005 per teacher. That’s simply more than the job is worth, and more than the district can afford. While employees everywhere are taking cuts in pay and benefits, the teachers of MPS keep being given more and more. Read More

10 May

Milwaukee Public Schools Teachers Admit They Suck?

The idea being proposed is simple: Pay Milwaukee Public Schools teachers more to teach a longer school day so children can learn more.

The response from the teachers union: “We’ve taken a consistent view that doing the same thing longer is going to produce the same results.”

Translation: We’re not teaching children now, and having a longer school day would only have us not teaching more. Read More