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"This reality necessitates the proposed elimination of 194 positions and an overall reduction of $31 million to school budgets."
"This reality necessitates the proposed elimination of 194 positions and an overall reduction of $31 million to school budgets."

Report: MPS faces "revenue challenges, renewed expenditure pressures"

According to a new Public Policy Forum report, Milwaukee Public Schools again "face(s) revenue challenges and renewed expenditure pressures," which are reflected in its FY18 budget.

The PPF report, which can be downloaded here, says that the district went into its budget planning sessions with a $46 million shortfall because it made use of a one-time savings from retirement and debt payments to fund new staff positions and initiatives. This opportunity, the report says, was "fully transparent."

That savings, however, has evaporated and the money used for staff must now be returned to funding of retirement and debt.

"After two consecutive years in which the district was able to add positions and initiate new
Programs," the report notes, "the 2018 proposed budget reverts back to a more familiar budget paradigm – one in which MPS' leaders face fierce pressure to reduce positions and to shift resources from school operations to other needs.

"This reality necessitates the proposed elimination of 194 positions and an overall reduction of $31 million to school budgets."

Here are some key findings from the report, as presented in a Public Policy Forum release:

  • The budget anticipates a $15.4 million increase in per pupil aid from the State based on the Governor's recommended 2017-19 State budget. That increase is mostly offset, however, by a projected $12.9 million reduction in combined State equalization aids and local property tax levy based on aid amounts and revenue limits in the Governor's budget.
  • While the proposed budget fully restores one-time savings in retirement and capital-related debt accounts, it again includes a transfer of $9.5 million in property tax levy from the construction fund to school operations. This transfer likely will need to be restored in 2019, adding to budget challenges that year.
  • After several successive years of decline following the negotiation of a new teachers' union contract in 2010 and changes enabled by Wisconsin Act 10,MPS’…
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On Monday, Bader Philanthropies staff and others gathered to break ground for a new HQ in the Harambee neighborhood.
On Monday, Bader Philanthropies staff and others gathered to break ground for a new HQ in the Harambee neighborhood.

Bader breaks ground on new Harambee headquarters project

On Monday, Bader Philanthropies staff, the Bader family, local notables and others gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking ceremony for the new home of the Bader Philanthropies Global Headquarters at 3318 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Dr. in the Harambee neighborhood.

OnMilwaukee readers learned all about the project and got to see inside the building that will form the main section of the new offices in this February Urban Spelunking article.

Among those on hand at Monday’s event were Mayor Tom Barrett; Ald. Milele Coggs; Daniel J. Bader, CEO of Bader Philanthropies; Frank Cumberbatch, Bader’s project manager; and Ald. Cavalier Johnson.

The new headquarters is expected to open by summer 2018. A rendering of the completed facility was also available for guests to examine.

Here are some photos from the ceremony:


Mayor Tom Barrett (right) listens as Daniel Bader addresses guests.


Bader family and staff gathered for a photo at the groundbreaking.


Milwaukee turned out to celebrate the groundbreaking.


A rendering showing how the completed project will look.

Ald. Milele Coggs, in whose district the project is located, addresses the crowd.


Mayor Tom Barrett speaks at the event.

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Bradley Tech opened a new high-tech Fab Lab today thanks to a $25,000 state grant.
Bradley Tech opened a new high-tech Fab Lab today thanks to a $25,000 state grant.

Bradley Tech gets MPS' second high-tech fabrication lab today

Less than a week after Washington High School for Information Technology opened its new "Fab Lab," thanks to a grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), another MPS high school is launching one.

This morning – dubbed Wisconsin Fab Lab Day – WEDC Secretary Mark R. Hogan, MPS Superintendant Dr. Darienne Driver and other state officials swung open the doors to a new Fab Lab fabrication studio at Bradley Tech High School, 700 S. 4th St. Like the Washington lab, this one was funded with a $25,000 WEDC grant.

Washington's lab has two vinyl cutters, a trio of three-dimensional printers, a 3-D scanner, a computer numerical control mill, a laser engraver and the computers to make them function. The Tech lab equipment is reportedly not the same.

WEDC is making $500,000 in grants to 21 school districts across Wisconsin to fund high-tech Fab Lab workshops in schools to help introduce students to the latest industry equipment that can be found in manufacturing businesses around the state.

The 1936 St. Rita's Church will be razed and replaced with a senior living development and a new church.
The 1936 St. Rita's Church will be razed and replaced with a senior living development and a new church.

St. Rita's Church will be razed and replaced with a new Little Pink Church

St. Rita’s Church, 1601 N. Cass St., will be razed and replaced with a new church and a six-story independent living complex for seniors, the church will announce today at a press conference with Mayor Tom Barrett and Ald. Nik Kovac.

The current church, built in 1936, will be replaced with a new building based on the design of the old Blessed Virgin of Pompeii Church – colloquially known by Milwaukee’s Italian-American community as the "Little Pink Church" – that once stood on Jackson Street in the Third Ward.

The new building will preserve art (including frescoes) and spiritual objects not only from the current St. Rita Church building, but also from the Blessed Virgin of Pompeii, which was built in 1904 and demolished for the I-794 freeway in 1967.

St. Rita's was founded in 1925 as a missionary outpost of the Blessed Virgin of Pompeii.

A press release for the news conference says the church will, "serve as Italian community’s spiritual center." Congregation members will work with a liturgical architect to design the interior of the church.

And, yes, it appears from renderings that the new church will have a pink exterior.

The residential senior living building will provide assisted living, memory care and concierge services to its residents. In addition to 29 independent living apartments, 48 assisted living units and 26 memory care units, the building – on the northwest corner of Cass and Pleasant Streets, two blocks south of Brady – will include 2,800 square feet of street-level retail space, too.

The development includes 44 enclosed parking spaces and indoor and outdoor bike parking facilities.

The parish is selling the site to Tarantino & Co., which will tear down the church, convent and vacant school to build the $20 million development, for $1. Tarantino will build the new church and sell it back to the congregation for $1.

Also taking part in today’s press conference are St. Rita’s pastor Father Tim Kitzke, Italian Community Cente…

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