BRIEF: Walker’s Bargaining Limits Save Millions, Some Districts Still Short

BRIEF: Walker’s Bargaining Limits Save Millions, Some Districts Still Short
July 26, 2011

Alicia Constant

Alicia Constant (alicia.constant289@gmail.com) is a freelance journalist. (read full bio)

Sixty-seven of Wisconsin’s 424 school districts have reported saving more than $140 million in total by collectively negotiating only salaries under Gov. Scott Walker’s bargaining limits enacted earlier this year.

More than 150 districts rushed to conclude contract negotiations before the law took effect, and could have saved taxpayers more than $451 million if they all took advantage of the new law, estimated Wisconsin’s MacIver Institute for Public Policy.

To address a $3 billion state deficit, Walker cut state funding for school budgets by $555 per student. 

“We could see [financial difficulty] was coming and did not have to make many reductions this year,” said William Hughes, superintendent of Greendale School District. Greendale saved about $3 million in health costs this year thanks to the new negotiating flexibility. “But next year we’ll be struggling like a lot of districts,” he added.

Many Wisconsin teachers will now contribute 12.6 percent of their salaries to health insurance and 5.8 percent to pensions. The law also allowed districts to net more work per salary: teachers in Kaukana School District, for example, must work 40 hours per week instead of 37.5.

Read the extended story online at http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2011/07/28/walker's-bargaining-limits-save-millions-some-districts-still-short

Alicia Constant

Alicia Constant (alicia.constant289@gmail.com) is a freelance journalist. (read full bio)