computer 1Dear MPS families and community members,

Our budget says a lot about what we value. Our most recent budgets focused on one key effort, investing as many resources as possible in classrooms. I am proud the FY14 budget sharpens that focus as we continue to move forward together in a spirit of collaboration to create more ways to improve student achievement.

Highlights of the FY14 budget include:

  • Implementation of the Common Core State Standards, which provide clear understanding of what students are expected to know and learn, supported by our comprehensive literacy, mathematics and science plans
  • Additional funding for arts/music/physical education in most elementary schools to twice the FY 13 levels
  • Implementation, in five schools, of SpringBoard, a pre-Advanced Placement program that prepares students for success
  • Possible expansion of the academically successful International Baccalaureate program
  • Creation of an additional arts-focused elementary school
  • Redesign of Bay View Middle and High School to develop a high-achieving academic program
  • Approval of four new charter schools, bringing the total number of non-instrumentality charters to 16

DSC00978Accomplishments from past budgets are the foundation on which we continue to strive to improve achievement. While efforts have come, in some cases, with difficult decisions regarding employee benefits, we have worked to balance those actions with our continued push to focus resources in the classroom. Past accomplishments we continue to build on in the FY14 budget include:

  • Continued growth of college and career readiness programs to prepare students for the world after high school
  • Expansion of programming at the district’s Parent Resource Centers
  • Increased capacity for successful programs, including Ronald Reagan High School and I.D.E.A.L. Charter School
  • Additional Response to Intervention efforts to provide support for students struggling academically
  • Revamped Gifted and Talented programs
  • Expansion of Learning Journeys, MPS’ exclusive beyond-the-classroom learning experiences to more grade levels

483011_461468463898204_531781332_nOur recent budgets presented challenges, and the FY14 budget continues that trend. We hoped to enhance our hard work around a standard of care for all students and further reduce class size. However, the proposed state budget with no per pupil funding increase and a likely further reduction in the reimbursement rate for students with disabilities will challenge our ability to achieve our goals at the level we desire and our children deserve. We will continue to advocate on behalf of our children and are committed to finding ways to reduce class size, as this is a key element in improving student achievement.

I look forward to your participation in the FY14 budget process.

Gregory E. Thornton, Ed.D., Superintendent

MPS Fast Facts

valsal2012Milwaukee Public Schools is 167 years old. The district was created in 1846, the year the city of Milwaukee was incorporated and two years before Wisconsin became a state. Five schools were opened in rented buildings.

This school year, MPS serves 78,461 students in 166 schools across the city’s more than 96 square miles. Our schools include 113 elementary and K-8 schools, 8 schools serving grades 6-12 or K-12, 4 middle schools, 23 high schools and 18 alternative schools.

We serve a diverse group of students: 56% African-American, 24% Hispanic, 14% White, 5.5% Asian and .08% Native American. Approximately 21% of our students have special needs, about 10% are English Language Learners and nearly 83% come from lower-income households eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.

MPS employs the equivalent of 9,306 full-time employees, including 5,044 teachers, 931 educational assistants, 418 clerical workers, 398 psychologists/social workers/therapists/nurses and 227 principals/assistant principals.

Accomplishments made through 2012-13 budget

  • Provided funding for additional art/music/physical education specialists
  • Moved academically-successful schools into buildings that allow them to grow, including Garland School, Golda Meir School, MacDowell Montessori School and the Wisconsin Conservatory of Lifelong Learning
  • Posted a graduation rate that was 14 percentage points higher than the rate for the class of 2000
  • Posted academic growth scores in new state report cards that, for most schools, were better than or near the state average

Resources for proposed 2013-14 budget

Read the full proposal using the links below