Wisconsin School Closings Continue — Now Include Milwaukee

The teachers unions in Wisconsin are continuing to revolt against the anti-public union provisions of Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposal, with more and more schools closing down from teachers calling in sick en masse.

In the capital city of Madison, where the “sick-out” began on Wednesday, the school closings have continued into its third day, the local CBS affiliate reports.

And among the many other districts with closures throughout the state, now another big shoe has dropped. The Milwaukee Public Schools, the largest district in the state, has closed its schools Friday.The NBC affiliate in Milwaukee reports:

“Last night, we went to bed knowing that we had maybe about 225 called in absent. This morning, I was watching our call center, our requests for subs. It was a very busy place. As of 5:00 a.m., we had 628 absentee calls for teachers,” explained [district spokeswoman Raseann] St. Aubin.

“With these staff shortages, we will not be able to provide safe and appropriate class settings in our schools,” said Dr. Thornton in a statement.

The budget proposal, with its provisions to roll back many of the state’s longstanding collective bargaining rights for public employees, has been now delayed by the state Senate Democrats, who have left the state in order to block the three-fifths quorum needed for budget votes.

Under Walker’s plan, as TPM has reported, most state workers would no longer be able to negotiate for better pensions or health benefits or anything other than higher salaries, which couldn’t rise at a quicker pace than the Consumer Price Index. Walker and state Republican leaders have said the plan to limit the collective bargaining rights of state employees is necessary to deal with the state’s budget shortfall.

According to the Associated Press: “The proposal would effectively remove unions’ right to negotiate in any meaningful way. Local law enforcement and fire employees, as well as state troopers and inspectors would be exempt.”

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