Educate All Students: Larry Miller's Blog

October 17, 2013

The facts: MPS, Malcolm X and 2760 Holdings LLC

Filed under: MPS Buildings — millerlf @ 4:33 pm

MPS Portal:

City residents and taxpayers deserve to know the facts about Milwaukee Public Schools, its Malcolm X Academy site and the Milwaukee Board of School Directors’ vote this week to authorize the sale of the site to 2760 Holdings, LLC pending approval from the Milwaukee Common Council. Here they are:

Under the sale, 2760 Holdings, LLC, will make significant improvements to the 50-plus-year-old building to prepare it to be reopened as a community center and school. MPS estimates the cost of those improvements to be, at minimum, $4.2 million, approximately matching the lease payments MPS would make over 50 months for the educational portion of the building. 2760 Holdings’ payment of the sale price of $2.1 million makes the deal a “break-even” one for the district because MPS ultimately reimburses the improvement for the educational portion while having the option to repurchase the facility for a dollar. In the end, taxpayers and the community benefit because the community receives an upgraded, 21st-century facility for a community center and school.

Contrary to statements made by lawmakers, 2760 Holdings, LLC is not a ‘fly-by-night’ organization. As is typical in commercial real estate developments, when partners from different organizations come together, they create a separate LLC to work on the project.

Principals of 2760 Holdings, LLC, include James Phelps, whose work has included renovations at the Medical College of Wisconsin, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and the YWCA – and Dennis Klein, chairman of KBS, who has been involved in substantial construction and development projects including three mixed-use University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee properties, two new facilities for Marquette University, major new Milwaukee hotels Aloft and Marriott, and the redevelopment of Capitol Court into Midtown Center.

Milwaukee Public Schools has offered three other facilities to St. Marcus Lutheran School – all of which are in the neighborhoods where many St. Marcus students live and two of which are in close proximity to St. Marcus’ existing site – but St. Marcus leaders rejected those sites. MPS remains open to discussing the sites with St. Marcus.

In August 2012, the Board of School Directors began discussion of turning unused former school buildings into community resource centers. The process specific to converting Malcolm X began in May and included a number of public hearings. Legislation to strip MPS and the city of Milwaukee of their control over local school facilities was introduced in October 2013.

Milwaukee Public Schools is committed to continuing our work with parents, community partners and others to increase educational opportunities and improve outcomes for the more than 78,000 children served in MPS.

As MPS enrollment grows, legislative proposals restrict growth of successful MPS schools

The Wisconsin Assembly is now considering a proposal that, like an earlier proposal from the Wisconsin Senate, could evict more than 3,500 Milwaukee Public Schools students from their current schools, some of which are among the most successful schools in the city (read more).

A group of Senators voted Monday to remove the provision from the Senate plan that would evict students. But at a time when MPS is seeing enrollment growth for the first time in a decade, both the Senate and Assembly plans prevent the district from continuing to strategically use facilities to grow successful schools.

This school year, MPS’ strategic use of facilities allowed top-rated Ronald Reagan College Preparatory High School to add 45 students and the successful I.D.E.A.L. Charter School to add 30 students. Golda Meir School, which is rated “Exceeds Expectations” by the state and added 28 students this year, is expected to grow further as it adds high school grades beginning in 2014-15.

Both Assembly Bill 417 and Senate Bill 318 would deny MPS and Milwaukee families the opportunity to continue to grow the successful schools those families are choosing. The bills force MPS and the city of Milwaukee to sell buildings, including ones that MPS has plans for, as the district continues to seek to grow successful programs.

MPS has shared with lawmakers that it does currently have facilities that could be sold and that voucher schools have rejected those buildings. In recent years, the district has sold four facilities, including two to Milwaukee College Prep. MPS also currently leases 11 sites to charter and partnership schools and has used facilities to grow eight successful and popular MPS schools.

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Wis. Rep. Joe Sanfelippo is willing to override local control against any school district in this state.

Filed under: MPS Buildings — millerlf @ 4:30 pm

Rep. Fred Kessler asked Joe Sanfelippo yesterday at the Assembly hearing on the bill to take over MPS unused buildings how he could justify going only into MPS on their buildings? Doesn’t this violate the uniformity clause of the state constitution?

Sanfelippo said that the requirement to provide education to all children in Wisconsin appears to override the uniformity clause, that the state can go into any district in this state, one by one, and tell the districts what to do.

Here is what he said:
30 minutes into hearing (Wisconsin Eye)
Sanfelippo:
“If we have a problem with any part of this state, be it Milwaukee or the smallest school district in the tiniest area of the state, if we have a problem with an educational system, its incumbent upon us to move in and make sure that those kids are getting their constitutional rights to a have a good education.”

October 14, 2013

MPS Facilities Hostile Takeover: Plan to Attend Assembly Hearing Wednesday in Madison

Filed under: MPS Buildings,Privatization — millerlf @ 9:32 am

Assembly

PUBLIC HEARING

Committee on Government Operations and State Licensing

The committee will hold a public hearing on the following items at the time specified

below:

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

12:00 PM

328 Northwest

 

Assembly Bill 417. See full bill at:

http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2013/related/proposals/ab417

 

Relating to:

authorizing the city of Milwaukee to sell eligible school facilities to

eligible purchasers.

By Representatives Sanfelippo, Stone, Hutton, Kooyenga, Craig, Kapenga,

Kuglitsch, LeMahieu, Jagler, Ballweg, Bernier, Knodl, Pridemore and Kleefisch;

cosponsored

by Senators Darling, Farrow, Vukmir, Lazich and Grothman.

________________________

Representative Chad Weininger

Chair

http://usage.search.conduit.com/Services/LogUsage/?app=3&source=Searchimagesapp-Piclick&Action=Pageviews-Conduit&ctid=CT3209604&args=%7B%22Search_type%22:%22SearchWeb%22%7D&d=1381760690580

October 10, 2013

Alberta Darling Proposal Could Evict 3500 Public School Students and Replace With Voucher Students

Filed under: MPS Buildings,Vouchers — millerlf @ 11:19 am

Senate proposal could evict 3,500+ MPS students from their schools, including some of the most successful in the city

Published: October 9, 2013 MPS

Proposal to strip local control over school facilities comes as MPS sees first enrollment increase in a decade

MILWAUKEE – A new proposal discussed in Madison Wednesday could evict more than 3,500 Milwaukee Public Schools students from their current schools, some of which are among the most successful schools in the city.

Senate Bill 318 would force MPS and the city of Milwaukee to sell buildings, including ones the district is currently using to expand successful programs. MPS would be forced to sell one of the buildings of its successful Golda Meir School, rated “Exceeds Expectations” on the recent state report cards. The school expanded in 2012-13 into a once-unused former middle school property and is expanding to serve high school students for 2014-15.

Other affected schools include one of Milwaukee’s oldest high schools, North Division, which currently houses both a small charter high school and MPS’ new teacher educator center;  the growing School of Career and Technical Education inside the former Custer site; Community High School, which is located in the Burroughs complex; and the brand-new Universal Academy for the College Bound, which just opened this year and is growing one grade per year. Another example is the new Carmen High School of Science and Technology – Northwest Campus, modeled after Carmen’s successful South Campus, which was ranked among the top 10 high schools in the state this year by U.S. News and World Report.

The discussion of Senate Bill 318 comes days after MPS submitted a fall enrollment count of 78,502 students, up from 78,461 last year. This is the first enrollment increase for the district in a decade.

The proposal would also force the district to sell buildings it has plans for, including the former Dover, 88th Street, Hayes and Malcolm X school sites.  Discussions on converting the Dover site into housing for teachers or young professionals have been ongoing since March 2013 and the district is in negotiations for the sale of Malcolm X.

MPS has shared with lawmakers that it does currently have facilities that could be sold or transferred to the city for sale.

October 8, 2013

St. Marcus Lutheran School; Sectarian or Ecumenical? Deceptive or High Performing?

Filed under: MPS Buildings — millerlf @ 6:53 pm

St. Marcus Lutheran School demands ownership of the Malcolm X site. I find it interesting that some public officials are encouraging that public dollars and facilities be made available to such a sectarian organization that will not serve the whole community, and in fact, makes a mockery of diversity and tolerance. For example, a posting on the St. Marcus Lutheran School web site recently stated, “…St. Marcus is unapologetically Christian and follows the teachings of the Milwaukee-based Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod.” Those teachings include the view that the Catholic Papacy is the “anti-Christ” and that Synod policy is that “women are not to hold positions of authority over men.”

Also, St. Marcus leadership repeatedly claims superior results to public schools. Yet they do not submit their data to the Wisconsin “School Report Card.”

Below is the data that can be retrieved on St. Marcus—WKCE scores. The following reading scores raise a lot of questions.

(Combined proficient and advanced= Grade 3/18%, Grade 4/32%, Grade 5/16%, Grade 6/9%, Grade 7/27%, Grade 8/22%)

October 6, 2013

Monday October 7: Common Council to Discuss Alberta Darling Bill on MPS Facilities

Filed under: MPS Buildings — millerlf @ 9:20 am

There is City of Milwaukee Common Council committee meeting tomorrow that will discuss Senate Bill 318, a proposal to authorize the City of Milwaukee to sell MPS facilities.

Monday October 7

At 1:30

City Hall Rm. 301-B

To See Bill Text Go To:

Bill Text

October 4, 2013

Hearing On Hostile Takeover of MPS Buildings To Be Held Wednesday October 9 in Madison

Filed under: MPS Buildings,Privatization — millerlf @ 11:57 am

A hearing will be held Wednesday October 9 on legislation that authorizes seizure of MPS buildings. This is a hostile takeover of MPS facilities so that buildings can be leased or sold by private entities for a profit.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

9:30 AM

Capital Building 411 South

To See Bill Text Go To:

Bill Text

Please attend and express your opposition!

Senate Bill 318 proposes:

That any property that is designated as surplus, underutilized, or vacant on any resolution adopted by the MPS board within the previous five year can be taken from MPS and purchased by an “education operator.”

The bill defines “underutilized” as:  

a)      less than 40 percent of the square footage of the school is used for the instruction of pupils on a daily, school day basis;

b)      the school is not staffed on a full-time basis by a principal and instructional staff assigned exclusively to the school; or

c)       the number of hours of pupil instruction offered in the school building in the previous school year was less than 80 percent of the number of hours of pupil instruction required to be offered by MPS.

 

Under the bill an education operator is:

a)      an entity/company engage in real estate operation, sales, lease or development of schools;

b)      private companies investing in charter schools;

c)       the operator of a charter school established by the common council of the city, the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, or the Milwaukee Area Technical College district board;

d)      the operator of a private school;

e)      the operator of a charter school that is not an instrumentality of MPS;

f)       a person that is pursuing a contract with MPS to operate a school as a charter school that is not an instrumentality of the school district;

g)      an entity or organization that has entered into a written agreement with any of the education operators identified in the above items to purchase or lease a building within which that education operator will operate a school.

 

Senate
PUBLIC HEARING

Committee on Government Operations, Public Works, and
Telecommunications

The committee will hold a public hearing on the following items at the time specified below:

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

9:30 AM

411 South

Senate Bill 318

Relating to: authorizing the city of Milwaukee to sell eligible school facilities to eligible purchasers.

By Senators Darling, Farrow, Vukmir, Lazich and Grothman; cosponsored by Representatives Sanfelippo, Stone, Hutton, Kooyenga, Craig, Kapenga, Kuglitsch, LeMahieu, Jagler, Ballweg, Bernier, Knodl, Pridemore and Kleefisch.

September 23, 2013

New Attack on MPS

Filed under: MPS Buildings,Privatization — millerlf @ 9:10 pm

Following is a summary of the proposed legislation by Senator Alberta Darling. This new attempt to colonize, privatize and destroy public schools in Wisconsin is aligned with the attempt by St. Marcus Lutheran School to take control of the Malcolm X building. This is another attack designed and orchestrated by the right-wing privatization/voucher proponents.

The summary of the Bill starts with-

Under current law, the city of Milwaukee (city) owns the school buildings and school grounds of the Milwaukee Public School (MPS) District. Generally, city-owned property used for school purposes may be sold only upon the written request of the MPS board and if the Milwaukee Common Council adopts a resolution approving the sale. However, if the common council finds that city-owned property used for school purposes has been unused or underutilized for at least 12 consecutive months, or if the MPS board has determined by resolution prior to January 1, 2011, that any city-owned property used for school purposes is surplus to the needs of the district, the common council may sell or lease that property if it adopts a resolution to do so. If the city sells or leases property identified as underutilized or surplus, the net proceeds must be deposited into the school operations fund, which is used to pay the principal, fees, and premiums due on bonds issued for school facilities.

This bill creates an additional mechanism for the sale of certain eligible, city-owned school buildings. The bill defines an eligible school building as an MPS school building that has been either 1) designated as surplus, underutilized, or vacant on any resolution adopted by the MPS board within the previous five years, provided the board is unable to demonstrate that the school building is no longer surplus, underutilized, or vacant; or 2) unused or satisfies any condition qualifying the building as underutilized for 12 consecutive months. The bill defines an underutilized school building as a school building that satisfies any of the following: a) less than 40 percent of the square footage of the school is used for the instruction of pupils on a daily, school day basis; b) with limited exceptions, the school is not staffed on a full-time basis by a principal and instructional staff assigned exclusively to the school; or c) the number of hours of pupil instruction offered in the school building in the previous school year was less than 80 percent of the number of hours of pupil instruction required to be offered by MPS. The bill requires the MPS board to annually prepare a detailed inventory of all school buildings in MPS and submit that inventory to the city clerk, the Department of Public Instruction, and the Joint Committee on Finance. The inventory must include the size and capacity of each school building and whether the building has ever been designated as surplus. The city clerk must publish information about eligible school buildings on the city’s Web page. Under the bill, once a school building has qualified as an eligible school building, only an education operator, with certain exceptions, may submit a letter of interest to the common council to purchase the building. The bill defines an education operator as any of the following: 1) the operator of a charter school established by the common council of the city, the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, or the Milwaukee Area Technical College district board; 2) the operator of a private school; 3) the operator of a charter school that is not an instrumentality of MPS; 4) an individual or group that is pursuing a contract with an entity under item 1 to operate a school as a charter school; 5) a person that is pursuing a contract with MPS to operate a school as a charter school that is not an instrumentality of the school district; or 6) an entity or organization that has entered into a written agreement with any of the education operators identified in items 1 to 5 to purchase or lease a building within which that education operator will operate a school.

To see the Full Bill Go To:  Proposed Bill for Malcolm X

August 17, 2013

St. Marcus Marches to Demand Acquisition of Malcolm X Building From MPS

Filed under: MPS Buildings,Privatization,Vouchers — millerlf @ 2:33 pm

August 17:  35 staff, students and supporters from St. Marcus Lutheran School marched from their campus at 2251 North Palmer to the Malcolm X school site at 2760 N 1st Street. There they held a prayer vigil.

blog 1blog 2Their demand? MPS should sell the building to St. Marcus even though the MPS board has been engaged in a planning process for the site for over a year.

Is the urgency by St. Marcus due to the fact that the board is getting close to finalizing its proposal?

Following is a resolution that will be considered by the board this month.

                                                                      ACTION ON A REQUEST TO ADOPT RESOLUTION 1314R-­004 BY

DIRECTORS BONDS AND MILLER REGARDING A COMMUNITY RESOURCE CENTER

Resolution 1314R-­004

By Directors Bond and Miller

WHEREAS, MPS incurs costs for the maintenance and upkeep of its buildings, even when they are unused and vacant; and

WHEREAS, A vacant building, no matter how well maintained, is not only a wasted resource, but also a detriment to the neighborhood in which it is situated; and

WHEREAS, Administrative Policy 5.01(8)(e) states that vacated school buildings owned by the Board shall be used for other purposes, if economically feasible; and

WHEREAS, At its regular meeting on August 30, 2012, the Board, in response to Resolution 1213R-­‐002 by Director Bonds, directed the Administration to develop the Community Partnership Shared Facilities Program, through which space in our vacant buildings is to be rented — for nominal fees, such as the cost of the utilities — to community-­‐based organizations which would provide free services to MPS students and which are non-­‐profit 501(c)3 organizations that have been in existence for five years or longer, or are government agencies, or are universities, colleges, or other accredited post-­‐secondary educational institutions; and

WHEREAS, The MPS-­‐owned building located at 2760 N. First Street, which housed the former Malcolm X Academy, has been vacant since 2007; and

WHEREAS, The community surrounding that site is in great need of a resource center that could provide educational, cultural, neighborhood, and recreational programming and services; and

RESOLVED, That the Board designate the former Malcolm X Academy’s facility at 2760 N. First Street as a Community Resource Center which will provide educational, cultural, neighborhood, and recreational programming and services to the surrounding community; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Board direct the Administration to develop an educational plan identifying the educational program or programs that are to be offered by the Center; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Board direct the Administration to work with the community to identify the shared resources desired for its new Resource Center; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Board direct the Administration to develop a contract for the coordination of services and for the management and oversight of the Center; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Board direct the Administration to report to the Board by November 2013 with a plan to implement the creation and operation of this community resource center; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, The community resource center is to open in the Fall of 2014.

July 30, 2013

January 5, 2011

MPS Refutes Hines and Darling on Building Policy

Filed under: MPS Buildings — millerlf @ 6:22 pm

To see the response to the latest attack on MPS and the School Board go to:

0105milwaukeepublicschools

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