UPDATE: MPS, MTEA on possible teacher 'sick out'

UPDATE from Thursday morning

Milwaukee Public Schools spokesperson Andy Nelson shared this statement on the reports of a possible "sick out" by teachers over the current budget battle:

We hope the information that is being reported about a possible job action by members of the Milwaukee Teacher’s Education Association next week is incorrect. As valued professionals, our teachers understand the importance of their attendance to the education and well-being of our students. 

Frustration regarding the budget is both understood and shared. State and federal funding have not kept up with the cost-of-living and benefit costs continue to rise. Our students, families, and community need us to work together to solve the districts’ short-term and long-term fiscal outlook. Now is the time to work together to solve the current and pending financial challenges the district faces. Our students deserve to have their teachers in their classrooms and should not be used by individuals or organizations to make a political point.

We support our employees who are sick and need to take time off because of illness. Employees who abuse sick leave will be disciplined as stated in the employee handbook.

Story from Wednesday

Teachers are eyeing Monday, May 14th for a 'Sick Out' as a budget battle intensifies between the Milwaukee Public School District and the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association, a source tells WTMJ Radio.

Petitions were being circulated at MPS schools on Wednesday, according to the source. Substitute teachers are also being told to be unavailable next Monday.

More: Milwaukee teachers strike possible

The union is responding.

"MTEA has not called for a "sick out" next week," MTEA president Kim Schroeder said in a statement. "MTEA continues to call on every public education worker in MPS to search their conscience and consider how far they are willing to go to guarantee a fair budget for our students and educators. We will meet with school leaders from across the city this week to discuss next steps. We remain hopeful that MPS administration and the school board can reach common ground on this budget to do what is right for our students and educators, but we are prepared to fight to win the budget we all deserve.”

Last week, MTEA Vice President Amy Mizialko asked members to pledge to search your conscience and consider how far each of you is willing to go to guarantee a just budget for students and educators," she said in a published video.

When asked on whether there could possibly be a strike or work action at MPS, Marquette Law School Senior Fellow in Law and Public Policy Alan Borsuk gave WTMJ's John Mercure a clear "yes" last week.

"It doesn't specifically say strike and job action, but it's certainly the implication. This is definitely an escalation of the tension in an already-very tense and difficult situation."

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