I was talking recently with an individual who was very active in the Forum years ago and who continues to have high praise for our work. As often happens when I talk to people who appreciate the Forum's research, the conversation turned to impact – are governments and school districts actually considering and/or implementing our recommendations and what (if anything) are we doing to hold their feet to the fire if they are not?... continue reading
Research Informs Teacher Pipeline Efforts
Since its publication in May, Help Wanted, the third report in the Milwaukee Educator series, has catalyzed and informed efforts to improve the teacher pipeline in the state and region. The Education Deans of Greater Milwaukee group has held a number of meetings with members of the community in preparation of a campaign to spread awareness of challenges facing teachers and elevate the teaching profession. The Greater Milwaukee Committee and its Teachtown MKE initiative are exploring ways to increase retention among current teachers. State Superintendent Tony Evers has addressed educator shortages in recent speeches and in the State of Education address. We are pleased to see that our findings and conclusions are helping to further a very necessary policy discussion.
Addressing the Last Mile Problem
A major finding from our 2013 report, Getting to Work, was the lack of transportation options to help workers make it the final distance from the nearest transit stop to their job sites. That is an especially common problem in low-density suburban areas, as job sites are highly dispersed and difficult to serve efficiently with fixed-route transit services. To follow up on that finding, we are beginning a new research project that will analyze strategies being utilized across the country to address the “last mile” problem and seek promising solutions for Milwaukee area leaders to consider. We plan to produce a report on the topic by February 2017.
It's Budget Season!
This is the Public Policy Forum's busiest time of year, with the newly released 2017 City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County budgets giving us plenty of complicated numbers to interpret and meaty policy proposals to analyze. Stay tuned for the release of our annual budget briefs in mid-October, which will tell you what you need to know and provide our objective take on the strengths and weaknesses of each budget.
Also, in case you missed it, our report on the City's fiscal condition – Making Ends Meet – has attracted comprehensive media coverage since its release on September 19.For a quick summary, check out our video. The major fiscal challenges we reveal – over-reliance on property taxes/fees and fierce police spending pressures – are prominently reflected in the Mayor's 2017 proposal.
We have several presentations lined up to discuss the high points of both budgets and compare the fiscal fortunes of the City and County – let us know if you're interested in having us speak to your business or organization!
Forum Hosts Policy in a Pub
The Forum hosted a Policy in a Pub on September 13 at Merriment Social. We provided a sneak preview of our new report on local transportation infrastructure – A Fork in the Road? – which assesses the condition of City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County bridges, streets, and buses. Our research also analyzes the capacity of both governments to meet their repair and replacement challenges. This report is the first in a series on local government infrastructure. Check out photos here!
New Fellows at the Forum Our 2016-17 Norman N. Gill Fellow and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee graduate, Chris Hillard, started his research project that will analyze the role and impact of Business Improvement Districts in Milwaukee County and identify best practices that could improve their effectiveness.
Also, the Forum welcomed our new Public Policy Reporting Fellow, Naomi Waxman. Naomi is a graduate student at Marquette University's Diederich College of Communication and will be working at the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service.
The Forum is a membership organization, and our members have kept us a vital part of the community for more than 100 years. We'd like to welcome the following new member to the Public Policy Forum community: