Board approves budget that increases commitment to MPS classrooms – 50 more art, music, and physical education teachers – and increases parent engagement and teacher support
Published: May 30, 2014
Includes a school support teacher and parent coordinator in every school
MILWAUKEE – The 2014-15 Milwaukee Public Schools budget, which was approved by the Milwaukee Board of School Directors Thursday evening, continues to add critical supports that invest in students, classrooms and district families.
That includes 50 additional art, music and physical education teaching positions in addition to 92 added over the past two years.
“We’re increasing our efforts to create a standard of care for students, bringing the total investment in these specialist positions over the past three years to 142,” MPS Superintendent Gregory E. Thornton said. “This budget is clearly focused on the classroom.”
Other highlights of the budget include:
- Adding a school support teacher in every school, grades K-12, to help improve instruction by working directly with educators in their classrooms
- Creating a parent coordinator position in every school, grades K-12, to build stronger relationships between families and schools
- Providing additional support for behavioral health services for early childhood and primary grade students in need
- Continuing additional funding for specialty schools – such as arts, International Baccalaureate, language immersion and Montessori schools – recognizing that these programs come with additional costs
- Implementing a five percent spending cut in Central Services to provide additional resources to schools, but also requiring staff to evaluate priorities to determine what services will need to be reduced or eliminated; the total reduction in Central Services from FY10 through FY15 is $10 million
MPS’ reductions in Central Services spending have helped increase the share of the budget spent in schools: the share of dollars from the school operations fund spent directly on staff and supplies for educating children has grown from 80% in 2009-10 to 87% in the proposed 2014-15 budget. Difficult-but-necessary actions to reduce benefit costs, estimated to save $400 million through 2017, have also helped direct more dollars to classrooms.
The Board approved one amendment to the Superintendent’s proposal: adding two centrally-based librarian positions to support library services in elementary schools through the district.
Total spending under the plan would decrease by about 3% to $1,157,296,555, which includes: the school operations fund; the categorical fund (grant funding for specific purposes); the construction fund (repair, remodeling and upkeep); and the extension fund, which includes adult education, social centers, playgrounds and fee-based recreation programs.