I'm posting this excerpt from the Wisconsin Club for Growth's weekly newsletter because I really, really like the picture. More than I like Sally Fields.
Amid mountains of evidence that the Milwaukee Public School District is going bankrupt, Governor Jim Doyle and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett announced this week they were taking swift and meaningful action to save the kids stuck in the failing Milwaukee Public Schools.
They ordered a study.
Longtime political observers know what it means to commission a “study.” Spend more money on a system that isn't working.
A clear indication of Doyle’s ultimate goal can be found in his insistence that the study group examine how the state funding formula can be improved. Any time someone says they want to “improve” a funding formula, it simply means they want to rig it to produce more revenue. Recent reports have suggested the problem isn’t inherent in how MPS is funded – in fact, the district gets 80% of its entire budget from the state. The problem is how MPS spends the money when it gets its hands on it – including money they don’t have yet.
A recent report exposed the fact that MPS owes future retirees $2.2 billion in health care benefits when they retire. At current levels, that’s almost $200 million out the door (or,17% of the total MPS budget) before a single child is educated. By 2010, that number will increase to $2.9 billion, and $4.9 billion by 2016 – all to pay people who don’t even work for the district.
Of course this has nothing to do with the state funding formula. Don't look for any solutions to draining of district resources to fund these outrageous benefits. Instead you can expect a very thick study that blames a lack of funding and does little to fundamentally change the dysfunctional system that has failed to educate yet another generation.