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School Board member says MPS has been giving raises without board approval

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A member of the school board says the Milwaukee Public School System has been handing out raises to top administrators without telling the board.

"Our middle name is public and these things are to be done in public."

Terry Falk says Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver approved 100,000 in raises to those administrators. One of them got a raise of more than $17,000.  Falk disputes the Superintendent's claim that in most of these cases, approval by the board was not necessary. 

"Raises were being given to individuals at a time when the administration was saying that we had to make cuts to the classroom and that there were no raises for other employees in MPS."

CBS 58 reached out to MPS for a response. Their statement defended the previous raises and said the following,

"The Office of Accountability and Efficiency identified 14 positions and the Office of Human Resources identified nine positions.

Out of the 23 positions mentioned, 16 of the positions fall within the purview of the Superintendent. The remaining seven positions report directly to the Office of Board Governance.

In accordance with Board Policy 4.10 and 4.11 – MPS Superintendent’s Administration has the authority to provide salary increases under 10% and need to be reported to the School Board. The policy states that adjustments over 10% are to be approved by the School Board.
The amounts attributed to the salary increases in question were included as a part of the 2017-2018 budget. Hence, they were not provided to the School Board in a separate report.

The salary changes were due to one of the following conditions: restructuring of duties, internal equity, or job reclassifications in accordance with compensation studies in determining the market value of the roles. All changes were within the salary level for the modified roles.

In July 2017, the Office of Human Resources initiated a compensation committee to review, provide internal approval, and periodic reporting to the School Board. No salary changes were made from October 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017.

Mr. Falk’s statement referenced a pay raise investigation, which was triggered by a whistleblower. This complaint was reviewed and reported to the School Board for approval during February 2017 board cycle.

We had several discussions with the School Board in regards to guidance on reporting salary changes. Based on the discussions, we will be bringing forward all salary changes for the period 01/01/2017-12/31/2017 during the January 2018 Board cycle. We continue to work with the School Board and look to update policy in February 2018."

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