Bruce Murphy
Back in the News

School Board Restricts MPS Raises

Committee adopts rule requiring board approval for all raises.

By - Jan 10th, 2018 12:43 pm
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Dr. Darienne Driver

Dr. Darienne Driver

Milwaukee Superintendent Darienne Driver got her hands slapped by the Milwaukee School Board last night. The board’s Committee on  Administration, Finance and Personnel approved a proposal requiring that any raise in salary given by the superintendent would need board approval.

The proposal — passed unanimously by the four board members who attended the meeting — will next go to the full board for a vote.

The controversy arose last week after School Board member Terry Falk published a press release for Urban Milwaukee claiming that the MPS administration awarded selected staff a total of $100,000 in raises without notifying the board.

“Raises were being given at a time when the administration was saying we had to make cuts to the classroom,” Falk complained to Urban Milwaukee.

Falk noted that 23 individuals had been given raises and the largest raise to an employee was $17,600. Driver, however, contended the raises were appropriate because the school board need not approve such raises if the raises are 10 percent or less and are a result of reclassification of individuals.

However, Falk noted that one raise required a classification and “board policy specifically requires such reclassifications must be reported to the board.”

In response to the Urban Milwaukee press release, the issue got coverage from the Journal Sentinel and all three local TV stations, with protests by some teachers of what they called “back-door raises” covered by TMJ4.

“We are all deeply disappointed,” Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association President Kim Schroeder told Fox 6, which also covered the controversy. “We have asked about raises for our members and we are continually told, ‘no money, no money, no money.'”

The proposal that passed last night, introduced by school board member Larry Miller and supported by Falk, is quite sweeping. “From now on every single raise would have to be approved the the board,” Falk notes.

The committee also passed a resolution that would require the administration to provide reports of all job re-classifications and compensation changes — on a monthly basis. Both proposals will need to be approved later by the full board.

Beyond the issue of pay raises, the reaction of both the teachers union and school board members suggests there may be some discontent growing over the leadership of Driver, who has served as superintendent since October 2014, and has generally gotten good marks from observers. The next full board meeting could provide more insight into her standing with the elected officials who oversee her administration.

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6 thoughts on “Back in the News: School Board Restricts MPS Raises”

  1. Karen Coy-Romano says:

    Extremely disappointed but not surprised that the MPS school board allows itself to be led around by the highly irrational MTEA. We have an outstanding MPS superintendent in Dr. Driver who has done amazing work in our schools benefiting our students, teachers and school leaders. If you do not treat her with the respect that she deserves for her sound decisions and management, you will drive another great leader from this dysfunctional school system. Shame on you.

  2. Mike says:

    Darien Driver has not occurred a wrong act. She is doing what the MPS Board hired her to do, especially in light of Act 10.
    The board’s reflexive response to a media highlight shows timidity leading to lack of credibility on their part. If the board will “administer” all raises, then who is the primary administrator for the district. The board had the option to say that it was simply a matter of communication between the superintendent’s office and the School Board. Their lack of courage and confidence and flush with trepidation makes the entire system look bad.

  3. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    Why give raises to people who cannot teach kids. When the kids get taught; reading, science, math,we then give them big fat raises.

  4. Karen Coy-Romano says:

    When student achievement improves beyond the ‘below expectations’ level within MPS schools with the teachers you reference, I’m sure money will follow. The administrative excellence required in monitoring and leading the scope of dysfunction seen in our school system requires the expertise and dollars to retain the individuals who are part of Dr.. Driver’s leadership team. That is why these resources are so important.

  5. mkwagner says:

    There is always a problem when there appears to be money for raises going to leadership but not for front line employees. It is particularly difficult when dealing with teachers who always take the blame for poor student achievement even though we know that the socio-economic factors have as much to do with student achievement as the quality of instruction. When you take money out of the classroom to pay for salary increases for leadership, the job of achieving measurable improvements just got that much harder. But there is a pressing need to keep talented leaders. For sure this is a balancing act that necessitates consistent and open communications between the Board and the superintendent. It strikes me that there needs to be less reflexive and more proactive engagement between the School Board and Dr. Driver. This resolution does nothing to solve the core problems.

  6. Keith says:

    As little as WCD knows and understands about education, the scheisekopf gets it right that raises went where they earned,
    to the teachers who can teach.

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