MPS Board vote authorizes sale of former school site to create innovative, first-in-the-region educator housing facility
Concept puts Bay View neighborhood property onto tax rolls and offers mentoring, collaboration for teachers who undertake the critical work of educating Milwaukee students
MILWAUKEE (December 19, 2013) — A Thursday night vote by the Milwaukee Board of School Directors authorizes Milwaukee Public Schools to sell its former Dover School site to developers who would create an innovative first for the region: an educator housing facility aimed at fostering mentoring and collaboration among educators.
MPS’ former Dover School site
The concept of a privately-operated, taxable teacher housing development modeled on projects seen in other cities was first discussed in February by the leaders of Teachtown MKE. Teachtown MKE is an effort undertaken by the Greater Milwaukee Committee along with MPS and other partners with the goal of supporting and retaining the hundreds of new educators in Milwaukee.
“That support and retention effort is critical to continuing to improve the quality of education provided to the tens of thousands of families in Milwaukee Public Schools,” Board President Michael Bonds said.
“I’m proud to see MPS take a step forward on this innovative facility that would be the first of its kind in the area,” MPS Superintendent Gregory Thornton said.
The Milwaukee Common Council must approve the sale before it can move forward, because the city of Milwaukee owns MPS facilities. Details and design of the proposed development would be addressed in through the city’s processes, including Detailed Planned Development zoning.
One of the groups involved in the approximately 100-unit development proposal, Seawall Company, comes to the table with experience in developing successful teacher housing in Baltimore and replicating its success in Philadelphia. The other groups involved are Maures Development Group, LLC , which has recently developed multi-family projects in the community; and CommonBond Communities, Inc., a group active in multi-family, retail and office projects. The developers would pay $350,000 for the property under the term sheet authorized by the Board.
The choice of the Dover site came after assessing what many new educators seek in a neighborhood: a vibrant, safe area with a walkable business district and access to public transportation. The Bay View neighborhood met those criteria. MPS staff, who had experience in working with the redevelopment of the former Jackie Robinson Middle School into senior housing, then identified the vacant Dover School site as a potential site for the innovative facility.
Meetings were held to explain the teacher housing concept and receive input in October and November. The development plan calls for a nearby private school to continue to have access to the parking lot and playground on the site.
The teacher housing would be developed in two phases and would be available to all teachers in all districts and all program types. The marketing program is anticipated to target new MPS teachers as well as teachers in the Teach for America Program; City Year Milwaukee corps members; teachers in Montessori training; and charter and private school teachers.
About Milwaukee Public Schools
Milwaukee Public Schools, Wisconsin’s largest school district, is expanding college and career readiness efforts and continuing to implement innovative reforms that give every student the opportunity to succeed. MPS’ high-quality school options for 3-year-olds to high school seniors feature school climates in which positive behavior is reinforced; certified, highly-trained teachers; 21st-century learning technology for students; and curriculum aligned to the rigorous Common Core State Standards, which set a clear, high bar for the topics students must master at each grade level. MPS’ Class of 2013 earned $24 million in scholarships and the district is home to some of the state’s best high schools according to the Washington Post and U.S. News and World Report. More MPS news is available at http://mpsmke.com/news.
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