Board authorizes boost to starting teacher salary, extension of residency compliance period for hard-to-fill positions

Two new schools coming for 2013-14; two under-performing/under-enrolled schools closing; Dover, Tippecanoe schools merging

The Milwaukee Board of School Directors authorized a boost to starting teacher salary Thursday night for new Milwaukee Public Schools teachers in a move to make the district more competitive as MPS seeks 700 new teachers for the upcoming school year.

New teachers and administrators will also have 24 months instead of the current 12 months to move into the city of Milwaukee if they’re coming into hard-to-fill positions. A third year to comply with residency would be an option in hardship cases.

The salary move raises starting pay to $41,000 from $37,721, making MPS more competitive with Milwaukee-area districts and other large urban school systems.

The Board also:

– Approved a charter and lease for The Banner School of Milwaukee, which would serve grades 6-8 in a currently unused MPS school building at 7171 W. Brown Deer Road, Milwaukee 53223.

– Approved a charter for MTEC Environmental Science school, which would focus on environmental science, serving grades K4-5 in 2013-14 and eventually growing to serve middle- and high-school students. A site lease has not yet been approved.

– Approved a merger of Dover Street School and the Tippecanoe School for the Arts and Humanities in the building they both share at 2969 S. Howell Avenue, Milwaukee 53207. The merger is expected to strengthen the educational programs with a K-8 integrated arts and humanities specialty.

– Approved the mutual termination of a charter contract with the under-enrolled Professional Learning Institute and the closure of the Milwaukee School of Entrepreneurship, which has been underperforming academically. Both schools will close in June 2013.

Milwaukee Public Schools is Wisconsin’s largest school district, serving nearly 80,000 students in more than 160 schools across the city. U.S. News and World Report named MPS’ Rufus King International School and Ronald Wilson Reagan College Preparatory High School the two best high schools in the state and among the 200 best in the country in 2012. In the past year, Milwaukee Public Schools posted a growing graduation rate 17 points higher than the rate for 2000.