“Eighty-eight cents of every dollar we spend is in the schools, so every reduction we make will impact schools directly,” said Driver, who had brought forward a number of potential cost-saving measures, including changes to employee benefits and busing, that were rejected by board members.
“It’s very difficult to make those choices. But when you are trying to preserve music and art and small class sizes, and trying to make sure programs continue, these are the tough choices that need to be made.”
The teachers union criticized the proposal, saying it disproportionately affects students in the classroom rather than central-office administrators and that it fails to adequately compensate teachers and others who have the greatest impact on the daily lives of students.
“We’re looking at class sizes for 4-year-olds that are nearing 40 children in a classroom … and we’re nearing 50 in high schools,” said Amy Mizialko, vice president of the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association. “We need as many capable staff as we can get inside schools and interfacing with children in classrooms every single day. That’s where we make a difference.”
Spending increases annually. Madison spends nearly $20,000 per student.