After months of meetings and research and progress reports, the MPS Long Range Facilities Master Plan was released today with little fanfare. Among the recommendations are some school closures, relocations and other moves.
The Year 1 Facility Options outlined in the report suggest:
Closing 68th Street School, an early education center on the West Side that serves 290 students. The school was tabbed for closure this year but parents fought that move and were successful at keeping the program going.
Closing 65th Street School, which is ironic since just today the district posted a photo of a Tommie, a fifth grade student at the school with his role model, the school’s principal, Keith Carrington. The school has a capacity of 614.
Closing Burroughs Middle School, which currently has about 400 students.
In the Southwest Region, the report proposes moving the Wisconsin Conservatory of Lifelong Learning to the mostly vacant Sarah Scott Middle School near Marquette to allow the Garland School program to relocate to the WCLL building, which is nearby. Both schools are on the South Side, not far from the airport.
The Garland building would house a new K-8 Montessori program.
The Kosciuszko Montessori program, which has struggled with enrollment, would be closed and the Hayes Bilingual program would move into the space on 9th and Windlake and expand to a K-8 program.
In the Central Region, Milwaukee’s first public Montessori school, MacDowell would be shuttered and the program moved to the former Juneau High School, where it would be expanded through grade 12.
In the East Region, the suggestions are to close LaFollette Elementary and “repurpose” it as a “Non-School Facility,” open a 6-12 Golda Meir extension program at Milwaukee Education Center in the former Schlitz Brewery and to close Carver Academy in Brewer’s Hill.
Carver, which according to the report, is “significantly underenrolled,” would re-open as a Montessori 4-8 program that would be fed by Maryland Avenue Montessori, which would become a K3-3 program. That would allow the program to enroll many more kids at all grade levels. Maryland currently houses K3-8 students and consistently has a lengthy waiting list.
It is presumed that some current MacDowell students would opt to attend the expanded Maryland Avenue/Carver programs rather than move west to Juneau.
The report notes that many of the above options, quite obviously, depend on each other. For example Garland cannot move to WCLL unless WCLL heads Downtown to Sarah Scott.
There are certainly changes in store for the other nine years covered by the master plan but they are not delineated in the report.
The final document, which runs 114 pages long, will be presented to the school board next week as an informational item. Nothing in the plan will likely be proposed to the board this month.
Expect those moves to happen in December, especially because a procedural rule says that school closings and similar actions must take place before Dec. 31. That’s because enrollment begins in January.
This year will continue to be an interesting one for public schools in Milwaukee. Stay tuned.