Milwaukee: Saved by Act 10...For Now

Robert M. Costrell and Larry Maloney
Publication Date: 
July 17, 2013

In 2011, Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) faced a dramatic and painful increase in employee retirement costs, driven primarily by a sharp rise in the bill for retiree health insurance, a program covered by collective-bargaining agreements between the district and its unions. In March 2011, however, the nation watched as Governor Scott Walker signed into law the Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill, also known as Act 10. By limiting collective bargaining to wages only, this measure gave MPS the authority to modify its retiree health program, and the Badger State’s largest school system has since acted upon that authority.

How did this happen? How much will it save? What would Milwaukee’s costs have been without this repair? How durable is the reform? What difference does it make at the classroom level? And what lessons might other states and districts draw from this experience?

In Milwaukee: Saved by Act 10…For Now, authors Robert M. Costrell and Larry Maloney analyze and project the future retirement obligations in Milwaukee and illuminate how retirement reform can help to solve the pension-funding problem.