MPS passes budget, asks union for job-saving pension move

MPS passes budget, asks union for job-saving pension move

By Jon Byman, Michelle Richards and the WTMJ News Team. CREATED Jun 8, 2011 - UPDATED: Jun 8, 2011

MILWAUKEE - In a move that anticipates big funding reductions from state government, the Milwaukee Public School board has passed its budget of about $1.2 billion.

It includes some important changes including nearly 1,000 job cuts and increased elementary school class sizes.

Some of the job cuts may be restored through retirements and already open positions.

The board also voted to ask teachers for a 5.8% hike in their pension contributions, which would save more than $19 million and nearly 200 jobs.

MTEA teachers' union head Mike Langyel told Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News" that teachers have already agreed to similar moves.

"Each of the next two years, we've already made sacrifices of about $40 million a year from the teachers' bargain," said Langyel.

620WTMJ repeatedly asked Langyel if the union would agree to have teachers pay a portion of their pension, but he would not give a yes or no answer.

Langyel didn't give a yes or no answer, but he repeatedly cited policies pushed by Governor Scott Walker including the now-voided collective bargaining law.  

"We're willing to take a look at things, but what we need is a bargaining law that allows us the flexibility to look at everything.  Right now, this is a punitive, anti-education budget from an anti-education governor."

The union's current contract runs through 2013.