Cash-strapped Milwaukee school district spending high in fringe benefits
Milwaukee school teachers get 61.5 cents in fringe benefits for every dollar in wages.
That's much higher than a group of 33 similar school districts and public employers, both in Wisconsin and elsewhere.
The Segal consultants of New York unveiled the figures, just as Mayor Tom Barrett and Gov. Jim Doyle announced a new analysis of Milwaukee school spending.
The cash-strapped district talked a few weeks ago about dissolving and Barrett and Doyle want to find out where costs can be cut.
The Segal report says Milwaukee schools pay about 14 percent of their total salary costs in pensions, compared to just under 10 percent for other public employers.
Those who work 20 hours a week get full health insurance and those who retire at 55 get almost the same quality of health coverage as active employees.
Segal says both practices are uncommon. But they won't change any time soon, since the next union negotiations won't take place until next year.
Teachers' union director Tom Morgan said teachers have agreed in the past to give up pay raises in exchange for better fringe benefits.
Union president Dennis Oulahan says the big problem now is skyrocketing health premiums. He says it's not fair to make teachers pay the entire increase.