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Proposed MPS budget increases investment in classrooms, including 50 more art, music and PE teachers

May 1, 2014

Also includes a school support teacher and parent coordinator in every school; continues multi-year trend to focus on classrooms

Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Gregory Thornton’s proposed 2014-15 budget continues to invest in classrooms and increases the standard of care for students across the district. This includes adding another 50 art, music and physical education teaching positions into MPS schools.
The 50 new positions for 2014-15 are on top of the positions added into schools for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years. This results in a net increase of 142 art, music and PE teaching positions over three years. Increasing art, music and physical education opportunities was listed as the top priority of those responding to MPS’ 2014 budget survey.
Other key items in the proposal 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 percent in 2009-10 to 87 percent 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.