Thousands Protest to Demand a Student Centered Budget

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

In an incredible show of solidarity and strength, well over 3,000 MPS education workers, parents, students, and community members picketed up and down Vliet Street outside of MPS Central Office. Quickly, the crowd grew so large that Vliet St. was closed as the picketers spilled into the street and took over 5 city blocks.

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

Neeskara and Sherman Elementary school nurse Maggie Mitchell’s sign points out the inequities Milwaukee Public School students face. MPS students are worth thousands of dollars less per pupil in the eyes of the state’s funding formula when compared to their surrounding suburban counterparts. This means nurses have to purchase their own band aids and other materials students need (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

 

Workers from all over the city joined the picket. Unions representing transit workers, healthcare workers, electrical workers, communication workers, postal workers, auto workers, delivery drivers, and museum workers all came out to support MPS students and educators in our fight for a fair budget. Many groups representing making up the pro-public education Schools and Communities United coalition were also present.

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

Educators from Madison, Racine, Kenosha, and the greater Milwaukee area also came out in support.

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

Massive 24-foot parachute banners were unfurled and carried by the crowd.

Parachute banners painted with messages were walked on the picket. Parachute on left: “Community Schools Build Democracy (with “I Matter” photo. Parachute on the right: “Public Education the Heart of the Community (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Students and adults alike run underneath the parachutes as they are lifted up into the air (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

The picket was so large, MTEA President Kim Schroeder and Vice President Amy Mizialko climbed up on the roof of the union office to address the crowd.

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

Their message was simple: These cuts are an attack on every MPS student and education worker in this district and we will reject any budget that does further harm to our schools. It doesn’t have to be this way. MPS has a billion dollar budget, and cuts can and must be made farther from the classroom.

“Specials” refers to art, music, and physical education classes in MPS (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

A Neeskara School parent with her children highlighting the much-reduced schedule of art, music, and physical education classes in MPS (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Click here for more photos from the picket.

To cap off the evening, our entire line headed towards the front door of central office. The doors were locked despite the public school board meeting that was to be held inside. Picketers began knocking on the locked front doors and chanted, “This is a public meeting, let us in!” When the doors were finally opened a loud line of educators, parents, and students streamed through the hallways, chanting to remind the MPS Administration and School Board of our demands.

“This is a public meeting! Let us in!” chant outside MPS Central Office (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Youth Empowered in the Struggle students lead chants inside Central Office and outside the school board meeting (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Chanting through the halls of Central Office (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Even the Rufus King drumline joined in.

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

Our action yesterday showed our strength and demonstrated our commitment to our students. We will continue to fight against cuts that hurt students and education workers.

Where do we go from here?

Here are key dates and events for you to remember as we fight back cuts to students and educators.
Superintendent Driver’s Preliminary Budget Released

– Friday, April 27

 

Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA) Facebook Livestream Reaction to Budget

– Sunday, April 29 at 5pm
MTEA Executive Board Meets to Determine Next Steps

– Wednesday, May 2

 

Facebook Livestream to MTEA Members

– Wednesday, May 2 at 7:30pm or immediately following the MTEA Executive Board Meeting

First MPS Budget Hearing

– Thursday, May 3 at MPS Central Office (Time to be determined)

 

Further actions to come to WIN for our students!