(The Center Square) – Only 20% of Milwaukee Public Schools’ $731 million in federal stimulus money is going to help kids make up the year and a half of learning they missed. The rest is either going to teachers, new staff members, or building repairs.
MPS is getting ready for a round of public hearings on the proposal to spend its Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief, better known as ESSER, money.
Under the plan, which deals with the second round of ESSER money worth $225 million, MPS is looking to spend millions to hire new employees.
MPS’s proposal would hire new librarians, new school nurses, new counselors and psychologists, as well as new social workers.
The positions would be paid for by money that must be spent by 2023. After that, Milwaukee Public Schools would need to find the money to keep all of the new staff members in their jobs.
Teachers would also see millions under MPS’ plan.
Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt, R-Fond du Lac, told The Center Square the state likely won’t make-up that money when it runs out.
“The time frame that this money is available is only a few years, so it is essential that MPS make the proper decision while they have available funding for additional staffing,” Thiesfeldt said. “I don't anticipate the legislature being willing to sustain that type of funding once the federal money returns to normal amounts.”
The proposal would pay teachers more to help with summer school, before- and after-school programs, to be trained to help non-English speaking students, to help with MPS’s Parent Academy, and to be trained in restorative practices.
There is also $3.3 million set aside for MPS’ Black and Latino Male Achievement program. The program’s mission statement very plainly sets its goals.
“The Mission of the Department of Black & Latino Male Achievement collaboratively works to improve the outcomes of Black and Latino male students within Milwaukee Public Schools by challenging systems, structures, and spaces of oppression, and seeks to create conditions that promote greater success,” the program wrote on MPS’ website.
An MPS spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.