2nd Quarter News & Updates 

President's Message

Six weeks ago, in my role as President of the Governmental Research Association, I travelled to Wayne State University in Detroit to deliver a speech on "Nonpartisanship in the Age of Polarization." The organizers asked me to provide perspective on how policy research organizations that call themselves "nonpartisan" can credibly maintain that reputation at a time when our politics have become so hyper-partisan... continue reading

RPP Report Informs Legislative Action

On June 14th, the Milwaukee Common Council approved a number of changes to the Residents Preference Program (RPP) that reflect recommendations from our recent report, Locally Sourced. For example, the RPP will now require that a portion of the jobs created by City-financed construction projects go to residents from areas of the city suffering from the highest rates of poverty and unemployment. The program’s apprenticeship requirements will be strengthened as well, with the aim of helping more city residents build careers in the construction trades. In addition, a public-private RPP Review Commission will be established to help monitor and refine program requirements over time.

A Busy Second Quarter

The Forum's research covered the public policy spectrum this past quarter. In addition to our timely RPP research, we released our third report in our Milwaukee Educator Series and our annual review of the Milwaukee Public Schools budget. Two other research highlights, in case you missed them:

  • Does Milwaukee Need a Cultural Plan? The Forum continues to inform ongoing debate on the future of Milwaukee’s arts and cultural assets. Earlier this spring, we were asked to brief local arts and cultural funders on our 2013-15 reports on the needs of our region’s cultural assets and potential funding models. When the conversation turned to larger questions about the overall long-term vision for Milwaukee’s arts and cultural landscape, we were commissioned to research how other communities have addressed similar questions through formal cultural planning processes. We presented our findings to the funders in June.
  • Get Connected: Our recently released report analyzes emergency communications and dispatching in Milwaukee County and opportunities for enhanced coordination with the County’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM). We find there are some immediate steps that should be considered to improve data integration among all municipal dispatch centers and OEM, and that consolidation of one or more municipal dispatch operations in a new OEM facility ultimately may make sense.

Upcoming Research Releases

We'll continue our rapid pace in the next several months, with at least five major reports scheduled to be released:

  • We will publish the first in a multi-part series assessing the infrastructure needs of our region’s largest local governments and taxpayer capacity to address those needs. The first installment will address City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County roads and bridges as well as County buses.
  • Forum staff currently are working on two education reports to be released this fall. The first, a review of the YoungStar early childhood accountability system, will look at the progress that has been made and changes that have taken place within the program over the three years since our last report. The second will focus on career and technical education (CTE) in Metro Milwaukee, focusing on CTE course offerings, teacher preparation, academic achievement, and employment outcomes for program participants.
  • A report by our Norman N. Gill Fellow assesses the current burden of obesity in Milwaukee and considers opportunities to build on existing assets to comprehensively address the epidemic at the local level.
  • We are conducting a survey to gauge the general financial health and outlook of the Metro Milwaukee nonprofit sector, compare its current state to that which existed five years ago, and provide useful information to funders.
  • Our research on potential service sharing between the Milwaukee Public Schools, the City of Milwaukee, and Milwaukee County will outline where the potential for such sharing is greatest and what it would entail.
Forum Hosts Viewpoint on Possible Milwaukee Teacher Shortage

The Milwaukee Educator series was the focal point of our quarterly Viewpoint Luncheon in May 2016. We presented findings from the final report in the series, Help Wanted, followed by a panel discussion about the teacher workforce in Greater Milwaukee. The panelists included a local superintendent, a dean of a local college of education, the Director of Human Capital for Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), and an MPS high school math teacher. The event included more than 125 people and was carried live by Wisconsin Eye.

Salute to Local Government celebrates outstanding performance by governments, school districts, and individual local government officials
This year’s Salute included awards categories that recognize governments and school districts for strong financial management, innovation, partnership and cooperation, as well as individuals in the public sector for excellence and lifetime achievement. Learn more about the awardees and view their video vignettes here.

New Members

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 members to the Public Policy Forum community:

Heil Family Foundation | Jefferson County | Legacy Redevelopment Corporation | MetroGO!

Upcoming Events
A Night of Nonpartisanship
An evening conversation and dinner event with legendary journalist Bob Woodward
Thursday, October 6, 2016 | 5:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Discovery World
More information...


Phone: (414) 276-8240

633 West Wisconsin Ave, Suite 406 | Milwaukee, WI 53203
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