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

02 Aug

Are Public School Teachers Underpaid?

I have addressed the issue of teacher compensation multiple times in the context of Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) and the constant budget problems the district claims to have. The administrators claim that they need more money, yet time and again it is demonstrated that the district has been getting more money on a per-student basis, and in spite of the increased funding children are not being taught to read and write. 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

30 Apr

No Surprise: MPS is Cutting Teachers Because of Out-Of-Control Employee Costs

Yesterday it was reported that Milwaukee Public Schools is cutting 684 jobs, which includes 260 teachers. The reason? Out-of-control employee costs, thanks to the teachers’ union.

The first thing you’ll hear is how the district doesn’t have money, and more tax money needs to be directed to MPS because it’s for the children. But the problem is not that the district doesn’t have enough money. I’ve reported several times on how the enrollment is declining while the budget keeps going up. The total budget gets increased year after year, and on a per student basis, the budget is skyrocketing. Witness: Read More

08 Mar

The Heart of the Milwaukee Public Schools Problem: Employee Costs

Every year we hear how Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) has a budget problem. We’re told they simply don’t have enough money to operate the school system. That is an outright lie.

Every year they increase spending. Here is a breakdown of the budget and enrollment by year:

The 07-08 budget was $1.19 billion. The 08-09 budget was $1.24 billion. The 09-10 budget was $1.34 billion.

And it’s worse if you look at spending per student. In 06-07, they spent¬† $12,976 per student. In 07-08 they spent $13,758 per student. In 08-09 they spent $14,520 per student. In 09-10, they spent $16,385 per student. Read More

31 Mar

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

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. Read More