Kaukauna Area School District projects $1.5 million surplus after contract changes to health care, retirement savings; Milwaukee Plans to Lay Off 354 Teachers

Appleton Post-Crescent:

As changes to collective bargaining powers for public workers take effect today, the Kaukauna Area School District is poised to swing from a projected $400,000 budget shortfall next year to a $1.5 million surplus due to health care and retirement savings.
The Kaukauna School Board approved changes Monday to its employee handbook that require staff to cover 12.6 percent of their health insurance and to contribute 5.8 percent of their wages to the state’s pension system, in accordance with the new collective bargaining law, commonly known as Act 10.
“These impacts will allow the district to hire additional teachers (and) reduce projected class sizes,” School Board President Todd Arnoldussen wrote in a statement Monday. “In addition, time will be available for staff to identify and support students needing individual assistance through individual and small group experiences.”

Karen Herzog

Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Gregory Thornton announced at a news conference this afternoon that 519 layoff notices would be issued for next school year, including 354 teachers.
Most of the teacher cuts come at the elementary level. The district has about 125 elementary schools. The elementary schools most affected are those that lost funding for a program that reduces class sizes.
The layoffs are the result of a number of budgetary factors, including the loss of $84 million in state aid to MPS for the next fiscal year, Thornton said.
Thornton called on the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association to reconsider the district’s request that teachers pay 5.8% of their salaries toward their pensions, which would have reduced the number of layoffs by about 200 teachers.

More on Kaukana, here.