Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

MPS’ Fletcher School Would Be Sold For Choice School

Greater Holy Temple Christian Academy would use vacant school near 91st and Brown Deer.

By - Apr 6th, 2022 05:00 pm
Fletcher Elementary School. Photo from DCD.

Fletcher Elementary School. Photo from DCD.

A former public school could soon see new life as the home for a sectarian choice school.

A proposal is pending before the Milwaukee Common Council for a private company to purchase the vacant Fletcher Elementary School, 9500 W. Allyn St., for $500,000 and lease it to Greater Holy Temple Christian Academy (GHTCA). The redeveloped 60,754-square-foot building would open to students in August 2023 according to a Department of City Development report.

The deal is part of a $5.3 million project by GHTCA that also includes a plan to open an early learning academy in a new building on what is currently a large asphalt lot immediately west of the school. The redevelopment would also include a new parking lot, lighted basketball court and playground.

The nine-acre Fletcher property is located northwest of the intersection of W. Brown Deer Rd. and N. 91st St. and immediately south of Milwaukee County Parks’ Joseph Lichter Park.

GHTCA leases its current building at 5575 N. 76th St. from Milwaukee Public Schools. The school, a participant in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, teaches approximately 600 students in K4 through eighth grade.

Recently incorporated Synergy Development Group, which lists developer Robert Chandler as its registered agent, would purchase the Fletcher property for $500,000 and redevelop it for GHTCA. The DCD report says project partners include Korb + Associates Architects, Catalyst Construction and Chaput Land Surveys.

GHTCA’s current home, a three-story building with a number of additions, was originally built in 1929 for the Town of Granville and known as the 76th Street School after Milwaukee annexed the town. The private school has leased the building since 2008. The school is to pay the district approximately $750,000 this school year, including a utility reimbursement charge, to lease the property.

MPS used Fletcher from 1973 to 2009. The city has sought a new owner for the school for several years. Under state law, DCD first listed the property for sale only to other school operators in 2016. Three letters of interest were received in that two-year period, but no purchase offers were submitted.

In 2018, the city began marketing the property for broader redevelopment. A 2019 proposal from White Lotus Group would have redeveloped the property into a 100-unit apartment building. But the affordable housing developer failed to secure the necessary low-income housing tax credits to advance the proposal. The property was relisted in 2021.

The sale agreement is sponsored by area Alderwoman Chantia Lewis. “We have been looking for a great community partner and [GHTCA’s] plans to be a community school and hub for the neighborhood is just what we need right now,” said Lewis to Urban Milwaukee. “I’m excited to bring in another organization that desires to be an asset to our neighborhood.” She praised the school’s commitment to the community.

The school first opened in 2003 under the leadership of pastor James DeShazer and the school today is led by his son Edward DeShazer. James DeShazer passed away in 2020.

Greater Holy Template Church of God in Christ is located at 1329 W. Nash St. It is led by pastor Jerry DeShazer according to state records.

Proceeds from the sale of the MPS property, less closing and marketing costs, would be returned to the school district.

The former Fletcher School was named for Arthur A. Fletcher, a Black Republican government official who is regarded as the “father of affirmative action.”

2019 Plans

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3 thoughts on “Eyes on Milwaukee: MPS’ Fletcher School Would Be Sold For Choice School”

  1. Ryan Cotic says:

    Seems like a huge win for the city if milwaukee citizens. Anytime we can get kids out of MPS and into successful private schools we are helping future generations.

  2. Mingus says:

    School choice is simple a taxpayer funded subsidy for a religious education that parents and the church community refuse to pay for. In the three decades that school choice has been the “reform”, nothing has really changed in terms of achievement in these schools the we are told about. This school is focused on the education of their students and is not caught up like the large choice schools as religious extensions of the Republican Party.

  3. GodzillakingMKE says:

    What mingus said. Also Republicans and conservatives want to destroy the teachers union and public education too.

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