Our annual review of the Milwaukee Public Schools superintendent’s proposed budget finds that 2018 will be a year of “retrenchment” for MPS as it trims positions and restores funding to retirement and capital debt obligations. Significant cuts to the teacher workforce and major changes in educational programming should be avoided, however, and several of the strategic initiatives launched in the past two years should continue.
- MPS entered its 2018 budget deliberations with a $46 million “hole,” which was created primarily by the use of one-time savings in 2017. The need to restore those savings in the 2018 budget necessitates the proposed elimination of 194 positions, though most will occur through staff turnover, retirements, and vacancies.
- The budget anticipates a $15.4 million increase in per pupil aid from the State based on the Governor’s recommended 2017-19 State budget. That increase is mostly offset, however, by a projected $12.9 million reduction in combined State equalization aids and local property tax levy.
- While the proposed budget fully restores one-time savings in retirement and capital-related debt accounts, it again includes a transfer of $9.5 million in property tax levy from the construction fund to school operations. This transfer likely will need to be restored in 2019, adding to budget challenges that year. After several successive years of decline, MPS’ health care expenditures are projected to increase for the second consecutive year (by $4.5 million, or 4.2%). Total fringe benefits expenditures are projected to increase by $3 million (1.2%).