"Our students are counting on us:" Teachers protest MPS budget cuts for this school year

NOW: “Our students are counting on us:“ Teachers protest MPS budget cuts for this school year

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee Public Schools were under fire Tuesday evening as teachers protest proposed budget cuts.

The school board meeting was packed with teachers upset about potential cuts that would have frozen their pay and cut services. But instead, the Board had a different announcement and it's potentially not good for the future of MPS. 

"Every educator will tell you our schools are already running on empty, our students can't lose a single penny more," said Ingrid Walker Henry, an MPS Elementary School Teacher.

Teachers were preparing for the worst, an estimated $19.4 million dollars in cuts to the district's $938 million dollar budget. The School Board announced the cuts are lowered to 8.5 million dollars which isn't necessarily a good thing.

"In the last 30 years with the exception of 1 year, we've seen an enrollment decline," said Shannon Gordon, MPS Director of Finance and Budget Services.

Turns out there was a drop in student enrollment this year, giving the district an extra $7.4 million dollars to work with. Board members say it's a trend that could be costly in the long run if the district continues losing students.

"And so we are really at a place where we have to figure out where do we stabilize in order to grow," Gordon said.

The budget cuts will most likely affect services purchased, supplies, and 35 teacher and district position vacancies that will go unfulfilled as teachers wait to see how it will affect their classrooms. 

"The School Board needs to put their words into action and create a budget that puts students first, our students are counting on us," said Angela Harris, an MPS parent, and teacher.

The School District says the budget cuts are due to an increase in the cost of health benefits for staff and reduced federal and levy funds. The School Board is expected to vote on the final budget on Thursday.

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