Contentious MPS budget proposal process begins

The Milwaukee Board of School Directors received an in-depth explanation of the district's budget proposal for next school year at a meeting Thursday night.

The same day the Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association released a video, saying educators are signing pledges to take action against the budget proposal. Rumors are now circulating that Milwaukee teachers are prepared to strike.

But before Thursday night's meeting, TODAY'S TMJ4 asked Amy Mizialko, the vice president of MTEA to clarify if they were hinting at a possible strike.

"There is no legal provision that allows a strike in the state of Wisconsin," said Mizialko.

We then asked if teachers were considering other options, such as a "sick-out," where teachers call in sick all at once.

"The educators of this district are being called on to consider all options and to search their conscience to determine what they are willing to do," she responded.

Several speakers at Thursday's meeting voiced concerns to the board about cuts to students and classrooms.

The budget proposal for next school year includes a 5 percent per student reduction in schools, getting rid of long-term disability benefits for employees and a 15 percent cut to central services.

Board member Terry Falk warned that everyone needs to stay positive in this budget process.

"We're a ship out at sea," he said. "We’ve taken on some water, but we're not the Titanic. We don’t need to run for the lifeboats."

Everything is still under consideration in the budget. The board is expected to take action on the budget at the end of May.

Board Member Wendell J. Harris, Sr. said during Thursday's meeting that he will be going to the Wisconsin State Capitol on May 14 to demand that the legislature fund public education. He says hundreds of others from around the state will be joining him.

"Take it to their doorstep because we are all partners here," said Harris. "We’re in this together."

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