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Superintendent Thornton, MTEA president discuss impact of proposed MPS cuts

Superintendent Thornton, MTEA president discuss impact of proposed MPS cuts

By Matt Montgomery. CREATED Apr 26, 2012 - UPDATED: Apr 26, 2012

MILWAUKEE - The new budget plan for Milwaukee Public Schools would slash around 400 positions and close eight schools for the 2012-2013 school year.

In the second year of Wisconsin's biennial budget that cut education spending statewide -- the MPS budget plan for the coming year would cut spending by nearly 20 million dollars. 

"They're tough decisions because many of those decisions have a direct impact on children," said Superintendent Dr. Gregory Thornton to Newsradio 620 WTMJ's Wisconsin's Afternoon News.  "We have made some tough decisions along the way with respect to school closures and consolidation to schools."

The proposal represents a four percent reduction in staff, meaning more than 400 positions would be eliminated.  "This does not mean that there will be over 400 layoffs.  Some of the positions that are eliminated are vacant and others will be reduced due to attrition," said MPS Superintendent Gregory Thornton in the budget overview submitted to the MPS Board.

Click here for more details on MPS budget. 

Almost 2,300 members of the Milwaukee teachers union voted against a proposal to contribute a week's worth of their pay - or 2.6% of their salary - to Milwaukee Public Schools to help reduce burgeoning class sizes, according to an email from the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association. 

Bob Peterson, President of Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association told Wisconsin's Afternoon News, "It was a robust discussion within our union and we're a Democratic union and over 1,600 people voted (to contribute a week's worth of their pay), but more than that voted against that for their own reasons." 

Peterson had said in a statement. "I heard again and again from members, especially those with outstanding student loans, who said that as a result of financial sacrifices they have already made to the district, they simply could not make the kind of additional contributions that were proposed.

According to Peterson, "The most recent state budget, compared to the previous law will reduce revenue for MPS by $90 million this coming year, on top of a $70 million cut from the current year."

Peterson claimed those figures came from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

MPS Spokesman Tony Tagliavia told Newsradio 620 WTMJ that there would be public hearings in May, with a board vote expected in June.