Milwaukee schools to cut 1000 jobs in 2012

MPS budget proposal cuts nearly 1,000 jobs

Thornton cites loss of grants, reduced state spending

By Erin Richards of the Journal Sentinel

May 3, 2011

Nearly 1,000 full-time staff positions in the Milwaukee Public Schools – mostly teaching and teacher coach jobs – would be eliminated under a 2012 budget proposed Tuesday.

Superintendent Gregory Thornton’s called his proposal one of the most challenging MPS has ever seen, largely because of the proposed state budget that reduces spending on K-12 education. His budget proposal for next year is 13.5% smaller than the budget under which the district is operating.

The proposed budget calls for eliminating transportation for the district’s youngest bus riders, reducing summer-school options, increasing elementary school class sizes, raising school lunch prices slightly, deferring building maintenance, and delaying adoption of new textbooks and educational materials.

“When you have a cut of this magnitude, things will not stay the same,” Thornton said before the start of the board’s Strategic Planning & Budget committee meeting Tuesday night. A public hearing followed, and another hearing will be held Thursday.

Thornton’s proposed budget totals about $1.17 billion, about $182 million less than last year. Thornton said the cuts include $81.6 million as a result of state revenue reductions.

The district also will lose an additional $95.5 million in grant funding. That moneycovers the cost of some popular programs such as math coaches and school nurses.

Most of the grant funding loss – about $82 million – is because of a drop-off in funding from the federal stimulus package, which was set to last through the end of 2011.

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