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Budget Brief: 2017 Proposed Budget Milwaukee Public Schools

Our annual review of the Milwaukee Public Schools superintendent's proposed budget finds that the district is able to invest in several strategic priorities, even though it continues to struggle with its perennial challenges of flat state aids and frozen per-pupil revenue limits.

Key findings include the following:

  • The 2017 proposed budget adds 183 positions and invests in several initiatives related to MPS' strategic plan despite a $1.3 million decline in MPS' total revenues.
  • New investments are accommodated through internal reallocation, including a transfer of $8.5 million in property tax from the construction fund to school operations, and a $31.2 million reduction in the district's contribution to retirement liability reserves. These actions set up potential fiscal challenges for 2018.
  • Fringe benefit spending increases by $3.3 million in 2017, possibly signifying the end of several successive years of health care savings that MPS officials were able to utilize in previous years to redirect to classroom needs.
  • MPS’ student enrollment is projected to fall by 700 students in 2017, which contributes to a reduction of $11.2 million in its combined amount of equalization aid and property tax levy in 2017.


Media Coverage

"Report: MPS budget shift meets needs but poses future problems"
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"Proposed MPS budget invests in strategic initiatives despite stagnant revenue"