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New regulations impacting school choice program: School closures up, number of new schools down

February 19, 2010

Between the 2008-09 and 2009-10 school years, fewer new schools joined the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP) than ever before. In addition, 13 MPCP schools closed and another three schools merged - the most year-over-year closures the program has seen. In this 12th edition of the Public Policy Forum's annual census of MPCP schools, we find 112 schools are participating in the choice program, enrolling 21,062 students using taxpayer-funded tuition vouchers. The number of full-time equivalent students using vouchers is greater than in any other year of the program's 19-year history; however, there are fewer schools participating today than earlier this decade.

Public Schooling in Southeastern Wisconsin

September 17, 2009

For the 23rd consecutive year, the Public Policy Forum has compiled and analyzed data from Southeastern Wisconsin's school districts in order to better inform policymakers and the public about progress-or lack thereof-on commonly utilized measures of academic achievement. This year's analysis of the 2008-09 academic year indicates cause for encouragement in some areas, but also cause for significant concern.

Property Values and Taxes in Southeastern Wisconsin

August 6, 2009

County and municipal finance officials in Southeastern Wisconsin soon will receive word from the State of Wisconsin regarding 2009 property valuations within their jurisdictions. That information, in turn, is likely to have a significant bearing on 2010 budget deliberations, as property valuations determine whether county and municipal officials can generate increased property tax revenues without increasing property tax rates. For the past several years, the Public Policy Forum has produced annual reports on property values and property taxes within the seven-county Southeastern Wisconsin region, breaking down the numbers by both municipality and county. This year, we combine the property values and property tax reports as we seek to shed light on the depth of the challenges likely to be faced by local officials in the face of stagnant property values and growing fiscal needs.

Preparing the Future Workforce: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Policy in K12 Education in Wisconsin

June 23, 2009

Last December, the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Coalition - a national organization of more than 600 groups representing knowledge workers, educators, scientists, engineers, and technicians wrote to President-elect Obama urging him to "not lose sight of the critical role that STEM education plays in enabling the United States to remain the economic and technological leader of the 21st century global marketplace." While that imperative appears to have resonated in Washington, has it and should it resonate in Madison? This report attempts to answer that question by examining the extent to which STEM skills are a necessity for tomorrow's Wisconsin workforce, whether our schools are preparing students to be STEM-savvy workers, and where STEM falls in the state's list of educational priorities.

Milwaukee County-Funded Parks and Cultural Institutions

November 10, 2008

The Public Policy Forum's role in the Audit of Greater Milwaukee's Regional Cultural Assets was to examine the fiscal condition of those cultural assets owned and/or funded by Milwaukee County: the Milwaukee Public Museum, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, Milwaukee County War Memorial Center, Milwaukee County Historical Society, Charles Allis Museum, Villa Terrace Decorative Art Museum, Milwaukee County Cultural Artistic and Musical Programming Advisory Council, Milwaukee County Zoo and Milwaukee County Parks.