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:
Cutting the budget is not as easy as many people think, board member Terry Falk said; declining enrollment does not mean declining expenses, and steps such as closing more schools are not as simple or wise as they might seem at first.
Should we invite Terry Falk to the real word? Hello? Fewer children means fewer classrooms, fewer teachers, less busing, less security, less food… I bet I could come up with a list of 100 costs that decline each time the district has one less student.
But the fact that the school board members can’t understand this basic business concept (that certain costs fall when there is lower revenue, or in this case, fewer children) illustrates all that is wrong with MPS.
But there’s more fancy math going on. Do you realize that for some of those students who don’t attend MPS, the district still gets money from the state for them? That’s right. Students in the voucher program only take a portion of their allotted money with them to the voucher school, and the rest of the money stays in MPS even though they don’t have to educate the child.
Could the leaders of Milwaukee Public Schools be any more incompetent?