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a.MKE: MPS, MTS, Caterpillar and City Hall 6.12.13

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Milwaukee Transit Services, the non-profit that has run Milwaukee county's transit system since 1975, is bidding against for-profit companies, some with ties to Europe, to stay on as the service provider of the Milwaukee County Transit System. The MTS contract expires in 2013.

Members of the Milwaukee Common Council gave Milwaukee City Attorney Grant Langley permission to offer a settlement of $12.36 million to drop charges against three design firms involved with the City Hall restoration project that left the building with cracking exterior sculptures. The city estimates repairs costs range from $9 to $15.5 million.

Last night, Milwaukee Public School Board approved a budget that will add 25 new art teachers for the next year. The budget includes 20 other positions in music, physical education and libraries. Other highlights include creation of an additional art-focused elementary school on the northwest side, redesign of Bay View Middle and High School and the addition of four new charter schools. The new budget plan takes effect next school year.

Union members at Caterpillar Inc's plant in South Milwaukee have voted to accept a six-year labor contract that freezes wages and pensions but includes a $4,000 signing bonus and shortens what's allowed in temporary layoffs. This is the first contract signed since Caterpillar acquired the factory as a part of its $7.6 billion purchase of the former Bucyrus in 2010.