On Monday, Milwaukee Public Schools teachers and school psychologists received a letter from outgoing Superintendent Gregory Thornton notifying them that their March 28 paycheck would include a one percent bonus.
In a note that began with breezy weather chit chat, Thornton said, "I want to stop and take a moment to thank you for all your hard work on behalf of our students this school year. I am pleased to announce that you will be receiving a one-time non-base building payment equivalent to one percent of your salary."
Thornton reiterated his thanks and the gratitude of the Milwaukee Board of School Directors and signed off saying, "We will continue to seek out way to show our appreciation to you not only in terms of salary but other creative approaches."
One teacher, speaking on the condition of anonymity, quipped, "a going away present?" and added, "The cynic in me sees it as a payoff so we don't complain about the district's refusal to bargain salary this year."
An email sent to members this morning by Milwaukee Teachers Education Association echoed that sentiment, calling the bonus – on which the district will spend about $3.6 million – a union-busting tactic.
"For the third time in two years, MPS administration – under the direction of the School Board – has undermined the collective bargaining process and disrespected educators by unilaterally issuing members a one-time bonus rather than bargaining with your union," MTEA President Bob Peterson wrote in the statement. "Two bonuses have been issued for educational assistants and bookkeepers, and one for the teacher unit."
The release notes that despite Act 10's restrictions on collective bargaining, other southeastern Wisconsin school districts – including Cudahy, Franklin, Racine, Brown Deer, St. Francis and Watertown – have used collective bargaining to negotiate wage increases.
"The district's refusal to respect the bargaining process, and the lack of a clear path for career advancement, restricts our ability to attract and retain quality educators," said the MTEA statement.
"This is the same school board that gave a 3 percent bonus to Dr. Thornton recently. Does the board value those who leave more than the members of the MTEA who are committed to our schools and our students?"
MPS spokesman Tony Tagliavia confirmed the MTEA statement and that two bonuses were given to educational assistants and bookkeepers, but denied that there have been three bonuses in two years to teachers.
"The March 28 payment is the first for teachers," Tagliavia said. "Teachers were under contract last year and received a 3 percent base-building salary increase plus step and lane increases."
Tagliavia also balked at the suggested that the district has refused to meet with the union.
"In January alone, the district met three times with the MTEA," he said. "MPS and the MTEA have established a workgroup to investigate career advancement opportunities."
On Tuesday, School Board Director Meagan Holman told WITI-TV's Beverly Taylor, "There were lots of meetings (between MPS and MTEA). They bargained to impasse."
In a call to action, the union encouraged its members to contact school board members and insist that it sit at the table with the MTEA to "develop a compensation schedule that will meet the needs of educators and our district."
1 comment about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Bobby Tanzilo
Published Nov. 22, 2014
The world's most famous ice skating rink shimmers beneath what must be the most impressive urban tree, perhaps in the world, and the shop windows in the Center and along Fifth Avenue must be seen to be believed. Crowds queue to see the holiday spectacular at Radio City Music Hall and Times Square is decked out in green and red. And all America comes to check it out.
Published Nov. 21, 2014
Few likely know the idea of farm to table better than new Blue Jacket chef Justice Neal. Neal, after all, went from farm to table himself, having grown up on 40 acres near Beloit. Recently, Neal, who served as the restaurant's sous, was promoted to replace departing chef Matt Kerley, who had run the kitchen at Blue Jacket since 2013. Since he's already launched a new menu, we decided it was time to check in with him about his work in the kitchen.
Published Nov. 21, 2014
Milwaukee Public Library looks into Milwaukee's historic public schoolhouses with a small exhibit and panel discussion at Central Library.
Published Nov. 20, 2014
Thanksgiving is on the horizon and you're hosting (or attending) a family dinner. What to do about wine? How to find something that pairs well with both turkey and cranberries? How to find a wine that appeals to you, your parents and Aunt Millie? It can be challenging, but experts say a few simple rules can help guide the way...
Published Nov. 18, 2014
One of the most recent building "booms" at Milwaukee Public Schools added a handful of new schools to the city's landscape, but at least one planned project -- and perhaps more -- never saw the light of day.
Published Nov. 14, 2014
Serious music fans will relate. Though a lot of music enters my ears, very few make the kind of impression that Lucy Wainwright Roche's 2013 record, "There's A Last Time For Everything," made on me. A year later I can tell you exactly where I was when I first popped it into the CD player and sat transfixed, unable to move. Lucy Wainwright Roche comes to Milwaukee next week, and we talked to her about it.
Published Nov. 12, 2014
Today, I got an email from my friends at Artists Working in Education (A.W.E.) about a project the group did this autumn with kids at MPS' South Side Anna F. Doerfler Community School in conjunction with Layton Boulevard West Neighbors (LBWN) and the COA CLC program. What's it all about? Read on.
Published Nov. 12, 2014
After three years in the dark, the Brown Bottle Pub, which opened in 1938 as the Schlitz tasting room, has returned. We got a little advance look.
Published Nov. 11, 2014
I've been a record store rat since I was about 9 (no, I won't tell you how many years ago that was), but I've whiled away countless hours in the dens of wonder, from sea to shining sea and even beyond. Luckily, there are still some great record shops in town, but not nearly as many as there used to be. Here are six lost Milwaukee places that I wish were still here ...
Published Nov. 11, 2014
The building that houses the Charles Allis Art Museum, 1630 E. Royall Pl., on Milwaukee's East Side was designed and built as a home, but in a sense it's also always served as an art museum. Built by a captain of industry, Charles Allis, the house -- designed by Alexander Eschweiler and built in 1909 -- was planned as more than a home for Eschweiler and his wife, Sarah. It was meant to be a showplace for their ever-growing collection of art.