Teachers protest Milwaukee Public Schools budget cuts

Posted at 9:34 PM, Oct 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-25 01:23:07-04

The clock is ticking for Milwaukee Public Schools to finalize their budget.  Hundreds filled a budget meeting Tuesday evening, even though public comment wasn't allowed.

The board has to cut $8.5 million from the $938.1 million budget.  The number was initially projected to be $22.1 million before state and federal budgets were approved.

MPS Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver acknowledged the full room of teacher and parents. 

"There is great appreciation for the fact that not only people here, but people in our schools and in our community that are concerned with where we are as a school district in terms of our outlook financially," said Driver.

Parents and teachers said they were at the meeting to show the board they're watching. 

"We are here to stop MPS from balancing a budget on the backs of students and educators," said Angela Harris a Kindergarten teacher.

Teachers are worried the money will come from classrooms.  For example, at Fernwood Montessori, the principal sent a letter home to parents in September that said they were planning to cut some music programs.  "This year will be a difficult year for all the schools in MPS." "Due to the unforeseen increase in the cost of health benefits we had to make adjustments to our budget."  

Teachers would rather the cuts come from charter schools, laptops for students, and layers of administration.

"Does MPS really need a boss for a boss for a boss," said Ingrid Walker-Henry, Elementary Teacher.

With enrollment down, the District said the majority of cuts will come from not filling open positions. 

+ $7.4 million- revenue increase 
- $5.7 million- salaries and benefits 
- $1.4 million- supplies 
- $1.4 million- purchased services 

Teachers are still hoping students don't suffer.

"12 months from now I look forward to having a budget that our children were actually worthy of because this budget is unacceptable," said Oamy Mizialko, Special Education Teacher.

The board is expected to vote on the budget Thursday.