Saturday, April 11, 2009

Milwaukee Public School system wastes $103 mil/yr

Milwaukee Public Schools could save as much as $103 million a year if it operated like a well-run business, according to a much-anticipated report that has Gov. Jim Doyle and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett taking steps that could lead to a takeover of the system.

The report, released Thursday, concludes that MPS does not have a culture aimed at achieving good results, and is in tenuous financial shape that will worsen without systemic changes.

The report mostly sidesteps the academic side of MPS, concentrating instead on business operations, from busing to lunch programs to purchasing practices to health insurance policies. It found waste in every area - inefficient payroll processing, overqualified maintenance teams, even pencil sharpeners that cost more than $100. The report also found more than five dozen central office jobs with six-figure salaries.

Spending outside the classroom is about a third of total MPS spending.

"To free up funds needed to close its worrisome academic achievement gaps, MPS must first get its financial house in order," the report says.