Auer Avenue Elementary School was “the poster child,” as one school official put it, for why Milwaukee Public Schools needed a Neighborhood Schools Initiative.
The reason was obvious: In the fall of 1999, kids from the attendance area for the school at N. 24th St. and W. Auer Ave. were enrolled in more than 90 schools all over Milwaukee, many of them no better than Auer Avenue.
So MPS spent $2 million to improve facilities for the school’s students, added sixth-, seventh- and eight-grade classes and added before- and after-school services, all to encourage neighborhood enrollment.
The result? Today, students in the area attend more than 90 schools elsewhere in Milwaukee. The percentage of students in Auer Avenue who are from the neighborhood has actually gone down, as has total enrollment in the school.
Those facts tells you an awful lot about how little impact the $102 million neighborhood school plan has had.