- Eliminating a district innovation department and reassigning some central office staff members to positions at local schools are a couple of the ways that Keith Posley, who just took over last week as interim superintendent of the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), is managing to return more than $11 million to classrooms, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- In all, more than $13 million is being cut from the central office in areas such as operations, finance and human resources under a more than $1.1 billion budget passed Tuesday by the school board. At the school level, the plan increases safety positions, creates supplemental and part-time positions for teachers, and invites students to present to the school board on a monthly basis.
- The district has been facing declining enrollment, aging school buildings and soaring healthcare costs, which have contributed to a $30 million budget shortfall, according to the article.
MPS isn’t the only district where superintendents are trying to streamline district-level administrative operations in order to provide more support for schools. In the Portland Public Schools last month, Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero announced that he is cutting 65 positions at the central office and planning to send more resources to the classroom. He and the school board have already agreed to raises for teachers.
District leaders point fingers at state lawmakers for not increasing spending on education, which has contributed to the growing number of teacher walkouts across the country this year. Teachers in North Carolina were the latest to hold a walkout earlier this month, asking the legislature for salary increases, facility upgrades and more support staff members.
A report last November from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities showed that, according to 2015 Census data, 29 states are providing less per-pupil funding than before the recession, and in 19 states, local funding has also dropped over that same time period. “Because schools rely so heavily on state aid, cuts to state funding (especially formula funding) generally force local school districts to scale back educational services, raise more revenue to cover the gap, or both,” the report said.