Wauwatosa middle school consolidation proposed to address costs

The Wauwatosa Board of Education heard a plan on Monday that would eliminate the school district's two middle schools. 

While it would save the district millions of dollars, some parents asked: At what cost?

"Perhaps they would be exposed to stuff we don’t want them to be exposed to," parent Todd Koehler said. 

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Superintendent Demond Means shared "Tosa 2075" with the school board – administrator recommendations that include, among other things, a new learning model. The plan would close Longfellow and Whitman middle schools and move the district to a K-6 and 7-12 learning model starting with the 2029-30 school year.

"It’s not a last resort issue, but it gives us a chance to take the deferred maintenance we have at Longfellow and Whitman off our books," Means said.

Longfellow Middle School, Wauwatosa

The school district said its deferred maintenance costs have reached $150 million district wide. If approved, the consolidation could save nearly $28 million.

Sixth graders would relocate to elementary school facilities, while seventh and eighth graders would be placed in their own wings at either of the district's high schools.

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"I think from a development standpoint, I think that it’s important that they’ll have space to grow and evolve," said Means.

Some believe that could do more harm than good.

"Why not actually invest in our middle schools where kids need more disciplinary support and need more support with puberty," said Angela Dobbs, a concerned citizen.


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Some were also upset about possible changes to the STEM program. 

As for the consolidation, the superintendent said staff would be cut. The district is also deciding whether to ask taxpayers for help with a referendum. 

While the board did not take action on the proposal Monday, it did vote to approve the budget for the upcoming school year.