In 2008, I started writing here about Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) because the district was presenting the numbers in a dishonest way, complaining that they were underfunded.
I was appalled that a school district could waste $1 billion a year and repeatedly say that they just don’t have enough money. Despite massive spending, the district has some of the worst educational outcomes in the country:
For the 2018-19 school year (they didn’t produce any data for last year), MPS had 18.4% of its students proficient in English language arts (i.e. reading and writing) and 14.8% proficient in math.
Let that sink in for a moment. More than 80% of MPS students cannot read and write at grade-level. Continue reading
For decades Milwaukee Public Schools has been failing to educate children, with some of the worst student performance in the country. And for decades, we have been told that money is the problem. MPS is a “poor” district. If only they had more money, the children would do better.
It’s always been a lie. All you have to do is look at how much MPS spends per student.
Typical spending in the U.S. is $12,000 per child per school year. (Most private schools spend much less and have much better outcomes.) Spending per pupil in fiscal 2017 (the school year that ended in 2018) was $12,201 nationally, and $11,968 in Wisconsin. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
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.
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 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? Continue reading
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. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
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: Continue reading
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. Continue reading
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. Continue reading