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The Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) have made it increasingly more difficult for expanding choice schools to purchase their empty buildings. Wisconsin Reporter details the problems a successful choice school that needed to expand had in purchasing an empty school from MPS.

“The whole thing was very, very bizarre,” Henry Tyson said, reflecting on his experience dealing with city and MPS officials.

Tyson, superintendent of St. Marcus Lutheran School, spent more than a year trying to buy one of the city’s vacant school building.

In 2013, St. Marcus, a highly regarded school that accepts voucher students through the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, needed to add a second campus.

According to a report released from Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, MPS has 17 vacant schools and 27 more that are using less than 60% of their facility. The report noted that choice and charter schools have expressed interest in purchasing or leasing almost every one of the buildings.

In response to St. Marcus’s offer to purchase, the school board revealed a scheme to sell the building to a developer who would lease it back to MPS. The deal fell apart quickly.

The city of Milwaukee and Mayor Barrett jumped into the fray by offering to help find space for the St. Marcus expansion. The final deal was $880,000 for another empty school building and a $1.3 million “school choice tax.”

The superintendent finally gave up trying to buy an empty MPS building and bought an empty building from a closed private school.


3 Responses

  1. Gabi Taylor

    How PATHETIC is this?! And, how discriminant!

    Surely the schools could contact the Bar Association to find out which LAW FIRMS would consider doing PRO BONO work for the school. These authorities must be stopped and, furthermore, they must be penalized for their apparently discriminatory conduct. With a law firm and the ACLU to back them, the school(s) should be able to make progress quickly! Add to this as many EDITORIALS in local and national news media, and they should be on their way to victory of buying these buildings that are on the market to all except poor schools!

    This system of discrimination against poor youth (their schools) must be fought with every means necessary.

  2. Jesse

    Who would name a school Malcolm X. Now there is a racist school. Might as well name one Al Capone or John Dillinger. Same Same. I’m more concerned about that kind of thinking. What is there football team called ? The Black Panthers. Instead of History they teach Black Supremacy !


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