MPS is failing its customers (the students, the taxpayers and the community). It is NOT because of a lack of money.
I took a stab at the money issues in a comment at the Fraud Files Blog. The author of Fraud Files (a Forensic Accountant) cleaned it up and improved upon the point I was trying to make with the post:
I don’t think taxpayers have any idea what wasteful spending MPS does. One reader of this blog broke it down in the comments of another article on this site. I’m going to refine those numbers a little. MPS is going to have 80,228 students next year. Assuming 30 students per classroom, that gives us 2,674 classrooms. With the MPS budget of over $1.3 billion, that’s spends over $490,000 per classroom. How could $490,000 be spent? Keeping teacher compensation at the current outrageous $100,000, that leaves $390,000 to spend on all the other needs for the students:
* Books – $10,000 per classroom
* Breakfast and lunch for all children – $50,000 (and that would spend $9.25 per child per day, which is far more than necessary)
* Computer for each child – $30,000
* School supplies for each child and classroom needs – $15,000 (way more than necessary, but work with me on this)
* Renting a classroom with utilities and internet – $60,000 (way more than necessary again, but I’m just playing it safe)
* Transportation? Nope. This is an urban area. Classrooms will be in walking distance for everyone! No more buses. Wheeee!
This still leaves $225,000 unspent. This is an astronomical amount, and all needs have been filled for all children in this classroom. Let’s think about other expenses:
* We need some administration to take care of paperwork. One person at $100,000 (includes salary and benefits) should be able to oversee at least 5 classrooms, don’t you think? That’s $20,000 per classroom on the administrator.
* Maybe we need secretarial help as well. Let’s say one person at $50,000 (includes salary and benefits) for every 5 classrooms. That’s $10,000 per classroom.
* How about a library and some musical instruments? Let’s say that for every 5 classrooms, we need to spend $100,000 per year for those needs. That’s $20,000 per classroom.
* Of course we need equipment for some physical education too. How about $50,000 per year for 5 classrooms. That should buy quite a bit of equipment, don’t you think? That’s $10,000 per classroom.
* The kids also need some fully funded field trips. How about if we give each classroom $20,000 to spend on field trips each year? That ought to buy some very nice outings
This is an additional $80,000 per classroom spent on all the extras, leaving us with $145,000 unspent per classroom. There will be “special needs” children in the district who need additional care, supervision, and resources. But guess what? I’ve got $145,000 left over per classroom, and 2,733 classrooms…. which means almost $388 million district-wide is our surplus even after using the outrageously high spending estimates above. I’ve factored in plenty of spending that isn’t necessary and is likely well beyond what would be needed for each classroom.
This simple exercise makes it painfully clear how bad MPS is wasting taxpayer money. It’s time to force the administrators to get their heads out of their asses and start doing right by the taxpayers and the students. Quit wasting our money on a system that doesn’t educate children. MPS is broken. Time to fix it.
Its NOT about a lack of the money.
I am thinking something like my vouchers-and-charter-schools-for-everybody plan is NOT the right answer either. MY plan is really Grade 9-12 alternative idea. MPS has failed its students before they ever enter High School.
If large number of students are hitting high school with 2 grade reading levels, 2nd grade math levels and with no sense how to properly behave themselves, the problem is with K-6 at MPS. By the time those students enter 9th grade they are – sad to say- a lost cause under the current system. Why
A better plan would be to do something like:
-The entire way that education services are delivered in Milwaukee must be changed. We get too little for too much money. The MPS Leaderships (Schools Board and Administrators) have shown themselves to be incompetent.
– For K-6-ish: emphasize reading, writing, arithmetic and personal behavior at the grade school level. Test early and often to find students falling short; provide remedial opportunities
– For 7-12, have separate parallel Grade 7-12 tracks. Put those falling short in reading, writing, arithmetic and personal behavior into an alternate system. For those not falling short, consider my 21st century ED plan.
-There should most likely be mass firings of the current K-6 teachers and administrators. Most are not competent. The student reading and math numbers speak for themselves.
Filed under: Milwaukee/Wisconsin, Public Policy | Tagged: education | 24 Comments »