MPS Losing a Good Teacher Over Residency Rule


Don’t read the title of this and make a mistaken assumption about my opinion on this case. I think the teacher deserves to lose his job….

Dan Bearss teaches science at Custer High School, part of the Milwaukee Public Schools. The City of Milwaukee has a simple rule: City employees must be residents of the city. The rule was implemented in the 1970s, and is still alive today.

Friday will be Dan’s last day teaching for MPS. He lives in Brown Deer, and has lived outside the city limits since he was hired to teach at Custer six years ago. He has apparently not hidden the fact that he lives in Brown Deer, it’s just that the administration didn’t realize it until recently.

Dan says that he and his wife should have the right to live wherever they want, and they don’t want to leave their house. So he will have to get a teaching job elsewhere.

Many debate whether or not the residency rule is outdated, necessary, or even reasonable. I believe that at the time it was created, the goal was to give city employees a feeling of belonging and making them more invested in their jobs. If they and their families lived in the city, they maybe had more of a personal investment in keeping the city a good place to live through their jobs.

It’s sad to lose a good teacher, but the rules are the rules. If you don’t like them or you think they are unfair, work to change them. Don’t try to beat the system. It’s wrong and it sets a poor example for our children.

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