Milwaukee collective bargaining yields larger budget savings than Walker's "tools"

Through collective bargaining, Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association conceded $94 million for 2011-2013.

Update, July 5, 2011: See the Act 10 Primer for more complete analysis. This June 30th analysis relied only on estimates from the Milwaukee Board of School Directors.
  Walker's "tools" would have netted only $40 million in concessions.

In the news: MTEA President Bob Peterson responds to the MPS announcement of the layoffs of 519 school employees
Last September, teachers bargained a concessionary contract with the school board that will save the district $94 million over the next two school years.

Milwaukee Public Schools, Budget and Finance Questions, May 5, 2011
If all staff paid 5.5%/5.8% in pension and 12% in benefits, what would the total district savings be?
... For certified staff in the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) [teachers], the amount is $19,691,054 (5.8%). The 12% benefit does not apply as this is not our health care benefit plan, it is the state's.

In the rhetoric: Cullen Werwie, spokesman for Walker, boasts
In other schools districts that have utilized the tools available to them, class sizes are going down, budgets are balanced, taxes are held in check.

Hypothesis: Walker's "tools" include a loss of collective bargaining rights (except to negotiate wages) and a requirement to contribute 5.8% of salary toward pension and 12% toward health insurance (see Wisconsin's infamous collective bargaining bill).

Using Walker's "tools," Milwaukee teacher concessions of approximately $20 million per year toward pension would have created a net 2011-13 school budget savings of $40 million.

Millwaukee's collective bargaining, completed prior to the enactment of 2011 Wisconsin Act 10, produced $94 million in concessions - more than twice the savings dictated by Walker's "tools."

Milwaukee School Board President Michael Bonds said Walker's budget cuts were "like a triple hit - the money we lose, the [voucher] choice proposals and the fact that the budget didn't address the funding flaw in Milwaukee."

The loss of 354 teaching jobs is devastating to MPS, but it is not, as Mark Belling would claim, the fault of "the union's refusal to take concessions." Without MTEA's ambitious concessions, twice as many jobs would have been lost.

Future work: Walker's voucher-choice exemption from the revenue limit yet another example of stacking things in favor of "Voucher-Choice Success!"

Prior research: Folkbum on MPS layoffs
MPS would have saved barely $40m a year from Gov. Walker's "tools." At the same time, Walker's budget cut more than $80m a year from MPS. There is simply no way, Walker's tools or not, that MPS could have found surplus given the size of cuts to its budget imposed by the state.
Update: (July 3, 2011) Folkbum provides details of the MPS-MTEA negotiations
the district wrung concessions from teachers that meant it could spend less in 2011-2012 than the then-statutory increase would have allowed. Figuring that as long as the increase was positive, even if it weren't $250 per student, the district could start the year on a sound footing with few if any layoffs--unlike what they had just gone through in the summer of 2010.

Fun with resources:

Thursday, June 30, 2011


Post a Comment