MPS announces community meetings for next facilities master plan
Time flies when you're having fun. It seems like just yesterday that Milwaukee Public Schools did its last long range facilities master plan, but that was 2011 and since then there's been no small amount of chatter in these parts about school buildings and who should control them and be allowed to buy them and for what purpose.
As the state's mandate that only charter and private schools could buy MPS properties declared surplus by the district recently expired on a number of buildings that are now back on the free market to anyone who is interested and has the means, MPS has announced that it is undertaking its next facilities master plan, which will be created in concert with Florida-based MGT Consulting Group.
In the first half of the 20th century, the district was often doing a buildings plan at five-year intervals, but with so much to discuss in the district these days – and as budgets are tighter than ever – seven years seems about right. Anyway, some of the decision-making comes down to demographic shifts, and considering the federal census is an every-10-years proposition, seven seems a good compromise.
"The district seeks a new plan to align with changes that have occurred within the last five or more years in our community," reads a statement from MPS issued this morning. "Developing this plan requires an understanding of the facility implications of the education mission, goals and programs of the district as well as significant input from students, families, staff, community members and partners.
"A Long-range Facilities Master Plan (LRFMP) will provide a cost effective, actionable plan to address the short- and long-term facility needs of the district. Drafting the plan will include a comprehensive analysis of education trends, school programming, capacity, building standards, operating costs and other factors. This information will be used to allocate resources and make decisions for the long-term, best interests of our students and community."
The final report is expected to be presented to the Milwaukee Board of School Directors in March.
The last plan report was published in November 2011 and ran 114 pages. Among the facility recommendations it made were:
- Close 68th Street School (done, merged with 81st Street School)
- Close 65th Street School (done)
- Close Burroughs MS program (done)
- Relocate WCLL to Sarah Scott (done)
- Relocate Garland to WCLL building (done)
- Close Kosciuszko Montessori (done, and please don't get me started)
- Relocate Hayes Bilingual to Kosy building (done)
- Relocate MacDowell Montessori to Juneau Campus (done)
- Close and repurpose LaFollette Elementary to nonschool purposes (not done)
- Close Carver Academy (thankfully not done)
- Repurpose Maryland Avenue as Montessori K3-3 that Feeds Carver Academy (not done, Maryland building expanded instead)
- Establish 6-12 campus at Milwaukee Education Center (Golda Meir middle and high school programs are here, so... done)
- Establish Montessori program at Garland (Not done, though a new Montessori program was created at the former Tippecanoe building)
While you and I might debate (or bicker, depending) on the efficacy of the changes that grew from the last LRFMP – the creation of which is a complicated and emotional business – it's clear that the plan was acted upon and not simply filed away for historians to look at later.
In order to get community input, MPS is holding a series of community conversations, inviting staff, parents, students and community members to have their say. They will be held from 6 until 7 p.m. on:
- Wednesday, Nov. 8, South Division High School, 1515 W. Lapham Blvd.
- Monday, Nov. 13, Bay View High School, 2751 S. Lenox St.
- Wednesday, Nov. 15, Hopkins-Lloyd Community School, 1503 W. Hopkins St.
- Wednesday, Nov. 29, James Madison Academic Campus, 8135 W. Florist Ave.
For more information click here.
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