Milwaukee public schools sent layoff notices to 519 public school employees, including 354 teachers yesterday. Superintendent Gregory Thornton attributes the layoffs to the $84 million cut to Milwaukee public schools in the two-year state budget, which Republican Governor Scott Walker signed last weekend. The budget cuts will amount to approximately $200 less per student in the school district.
Dr. Thornton said in a press statement, “This is a difficult time for the employees affected, for their families, for the City of Milwaukee, and for us. We are losing good people.” He indicated that the cuts will likely result in larger class sizes and the use of older textbooks. The district also cut school summer options and halted all “noncritical” building maintenance.
At a press conference, Thornton issued a request that members of the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association contribute 5.8 percent to their annual pensions. Bob Peterson, president of the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association, indicated the group’s opposition to this.