So we’ve got all these empty school buildings in Milwaukee at the same time we’ve got schools or potential schools that need decent buildings. Resolving this doesn’t sound like the most complicated issue facing the human race.
Almost needless to say, it’s complicated.
For quite a while, there was not much action on the empty-school front. Now, there’s a lot, including plans being developed on two different (and potentially competing) tracks.
Making maximum use of these assets will take cooperation between leaders of Milwaukee Public Schools and non-MPS schools, who are not known for cooperating across turf lines. But there is some chance that at least hunks of the empty-school issue will be worked out cooperatively and to the actual benefit of school kids. In fact, a major example of that is unfolding without public controversy right now.
School Board members last week were given a list of 29 properties owned by MPS that were considered “surplus.” Several of them are not schools. Several currently are being leased or used in some way. When you boil it all down, there are maybe a dozen that seem to be good candidates to be used as schools.
With green lights being given by the state Legislature to open more charter schools (independent or semi-independent, nonreligious, publicly funded schools) and private schools in the publicly funded voucher program, more people are eyeing empty MPS buildings. Getting use of them could save millions of dollars, compared with the alternatives.