Milwaukee Public Schools Wasteful Spending Exposed


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).

The Government Accountability Spending Project (GASP) has posted a searchable database of Milwaukee Public Schools spending for 2006, 2007, and 2008 through July. It’s amazing what our tax dollars are funding in this massive failure of a school district. Citizens for a Responsible Government (CRG) reports that the database holds over 432,000 invoices paid by MPS, totaling over $2.2 billion in spending.

Wasteful spending has long been the norm in MPS, with teachers getting an average of $90,000 to $100,000 in total compensation for a 9-month work commitment. The school board even wastes our tax dollars personally.

Patrick Dorwin at Badger Blogger has been publishing some lovely bits of data from the database, including:

  • $79,469 to Hyatt Regency Hotels
  • $71,292 to Hilton Hotels
  • $28,223 to Westin Hotels, which includes one 5 day stay in Times Square by Kathelyne Dye at a cost of $4,599.48
  • $80,530 to Zinger Tours of Washington DC to tour black colleges
  • $314,469 to U.S. Cellular
  • $28,000 to AT&T Mobility
  • $22,503 to Nextel Communications
  • $5,670 to Sprint
  • $75,552 to NextNet Wireless
  • $9,408 to Bartolotta Catering Co.
  • $93,335.93 to American Serb Memorial Hall for 33 events
  • Media buys of $680,000 including:
    • WISN-TV: $276,765
    • WITI-TV: $241,583
    • WMLW-TV: $10,574
    • WTMJ-TV: $82,326
  • $19,859,853.96 on consultants (I’m wondering if they might need a consultant on fraud???)
  • $5,160 paid by Milwaukee Academy of Aviation, Science and Technology to Beverly Hills Limousine Service
  • $1,014,436 for consulting services from the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents
  • $27,144 for iPods, categorized under “Nutritional Categorical.” Who knew iPods were nutritious?

Channel 4’s I-Team did a report on the evening news about this wasteful spending. And where’s the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on this issue? Conspicuously absent. The newspaper is quick to cry that MPS needs more money and the state should change its funding formula, but when it comes to the issue of wasteful spending as exposed with this database, the only article to be found is an online opinion piece by Patrick McIlheran.

Why should we be sad about budget cuts at MPS when this type of wasteful spending is exposed?

4 thoughts on “Milwaukee Public Schools Wasteful Spending Exposed

  1. Hmmm, here in Calgary for 2008 – 2009 the budget works out to $9,556 per student (Canadian dollars), even if we include all expenditures and exclude the adult learning programs from the student count.

    Results are pretty darn good too – 4.9% dropout rate, scores exceed world averages in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams. Pretty good considering we have a high immigrant population.

    New teachers need to have at least one degree. I believe most Alberta Universities require B.ED students to take one other degree.

    I think the biggest reason for their success is that the provincial (Conservative) government insists on results. Thus whenever any worldwide achievement results are announced, Alberta is up there with Korea and Finland.

  2. Theresa

    I think its a shame what is happening to our tax dollars. They now want to give MPS over 3 million for children who do not have access to Dentist. It will be a mobile dental office. Who does not have access to a dentist ? Maybe a child whose parents don’t give a dam and wont take them ??Rather than always just doing for useless parents lets make them accountable. I am so tired of the hands being held out for everything then asking for more. I sent my kids to private and am so thankful I did. Its throwing money at a problem that cant be fixed. I am so sick of paying for lazy people .

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