The new, union-backed Milwaukee School Board was responsive to employee concerns as it adjusted and approved the district’s $1.2 billion budget for the upcoming school year.
In a marathon meeting Thursday night, the board shifted dollars to provide increases for things like mental health staff, restorative practice leaders, and bilingual education.
And Superintendent Keith Posley announced a plan to provide what MPS employees have been asking for: salary schedules.
The plan would first increase wages for some of the lowest paid workers, including educational assistants. Salaries for other staff would increase in two following phases.
Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association President Amy Mizialko celebrated the decision.
“That shift is monumental,” Mizialko said. “It’s the first that we’ve seen since Act 10.”
The district plans to draw from its fund balance to pay for the salary schedule in 2019-2020. But salary raises in future years will be at least partially dependent on additional state funding. Right now, Republican lawmakers and Democratic Gov. Tony Evers are sparring over how much money to provide schools.
MPS Board Member Bob Peterson expressed frustration with limited state funding.
“Our kids deserve a lot more than what we’re talking about now,” Peterson said. “We’re talking about scraps.”
But Board Member Sequanna Taylor urged members to do what they can with those scraps.
“We absolutely need Madison to do something but if Madison does or does not, we still have to service our students and the families of Milwaukee,” Taylor said.
The board did take action on small changes that highlighted its priorities: restorative practices, mental health, music education and bilingual programs, to name a few.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with new information about funding sources for salary schedules.
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