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|Milwaukee Public Schools|
5225 West Vliet Street |
|Type||Public School District|
|Grades||PK – 12|
|Budget||$1.1 billion (2016–2017)|
|Students and staff|
Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) is the largest school district in Wisconsin. As of the 2015–16 school year, MPS served 75,568 students in 154 schools and had 9,636 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff positions. The Milwaukee Public Schools system is the one of the largest in the United States by enrollment. A publicly elected school board, the Milwaukee Board of School Directors, provides direction and oversight, with a superintendent heading the organization's administration.
Milwaukee Public Schools' offerings include neighborhood schools, specialty schools and charter schools serving students as young as age 3 up through grade 12.
Specialty programs in MPS include arts schools such as Milwaukee High School of the Arts; career and technical education schools such as Lynde & Harry Bradley Technology and Trade School; gifted and talented schools such as Golda Meir School; International Baccalaureate and college prep high schools such as Rufus King International School - High School Campus, Riverside University High School and Ronald Reagan College Preparatory High School; language immersion schools including French, German and Spanish immersion elementary schools and Milwaukee School of Languages for middle- and high-school students; and a large number of Montessori schools.
While overall reading and math proficiency rates are below the state average and below those of some other large city districts, the district did see some growth in scores in both subjects and both grades tested on the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress and on the 2012–13 state standardized tests, MPS students, on the whole, outperformed Milwaukee students receiving publicly funded vouchers to attend private schools.
School District officials note declining funding as a catalyst to problems in the district. However, local journalists have cited school officials as lacking in motivation to improve the system.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction in its 2011−12 School District Performance Report lists Milwaukee's Regular Diploma Graduation Rate at 66.2%.
In 2012, Rufus King International School – High School Campus was ranked the 130th best public high school in the nation, making it the top performing school in the state of Wisconsin. Ronald Reagan College Preparatory High School was ranked second in Wisconsin, while Milwaukee School of Languages was ranked seventh.
In 1990, Milwaukee became the first community in the United States to adopt a school voucher program. The program enables students to receive public funding to study at parochial and other private schools free of cost. The 2006−07 school year marked the first time that more than $100 million was paid in vouchers, as 26% of Milwaukee students receive public funding to attend schools outside the MPS system. If the voucher program alone were considered a school district, it would mark the sixth-largest district in Wisconsin.
Under Wisconsin state law, the Milwaukee school board is one of several entities that can authorize charter schools in the city. Other authorities that can authorize charter schools are the Milwaukee City Council, the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, and the Milwaukee Area Technical College Board. The first charter school in Milwaukee was the Highland Community School, a Montessori elementary school authorized by Milwaukee Public Schools in 1996.