We are getting down to the last two weeks of budget preparations. We are still on target to deliver a proposed district budget for Fiscal Year 2012 by the end of this month.
Today I did briefings for Central Office staff, to let them know what cuts we are considering, and to get a feel for their questions and concerns. A question was raised about furlough days, and whether we had considered them as a cost-saving measure. We have looked into the use of furlough days. The difficulty we had was in getting buy-in from all labor groups. A furlough day is successful only when ALL employees would be off for the day. For the record, a single furlough day would save the district $3 million. It is possible the idea could come back on the table, but currently, furloughs are not in our plan.
In the midst of all the budget talk -- and I must tell you that the budget is all-consuming lately -- we cannot lose sight of the "good stuff". By that I mean the great things that our kids are doing. I am not referring solely to the recent WKCE results where we saw an upturn in reading scores. I am talking about how our children show their talent.
I went to the student performance of "Hairspray" last weekend at Milwaukee High School of the Arts. I was blown away! It was, hands down, one of the best school productions I have ever seen. It was a packed house. These kids could win a Tony Award -- and they are OUR kids! Here are some pictures from their production.
We cannot lose sight of the good stuff. Our kids performed very well this past weekend at Milwaukee High School of the Arts. But it is not just them. Students across MPS are taking the stage, storming on to basketball courts, grabbing headlines in forensics, debate, robotics and poetry contests. They are in marching bands and drum lines. Please make a point of celebrating our children's endeavors whenever you have the chance. This is your personal invitation from me to come to the party. You may see some future Tony Award winners when you do!