MPS fighting low enrollment with recruitment campaign

MILWAUKEE (AP) — School districts across Wisconsin are seeing a drop in enrollment.

The drop in Milwaukee is due in part to fewer school-aged children and the growing popularity of the state's voucher program that helps some families pay for private schools, Wisconsin Public Radio reported .

Milwaukee Public Schools has now started a student enrollment campaign that has school leaders going door-to-door.

Keith Posley is the acting head of the district. He said the recruitment tactic is the first-of-its-kind for the city's schools.

"Go to doors and explain to family members the love, and all the great things that are happening in the Milwaukee Public Schools," Posley said.

Tom Bruno, principal of U.S. Grant Elementary, is among the officials involved in the program. During his recent recruitment effort he'd hoped to encourage families to enroll some 4-and 5-year-olds at Grant.

The schools enrollment numbers have remained steady in recent academic years, but he said he's worried about incoming class sizes. Four- and 5-year-olds build a base for the school and are also the most sought out in recruitment.

MPS has reported enrollment at less than 78,000 students this year. That's down from 97,000 in 2003 and means fewer state dollars for MPS, which is already strapped for funds.

Some of the funding that could've been used for MPS is being used for about 28,000 students that use vouchers to attend private schools.

Daniela Garcia, a high school senior, who made the switch from public to private school after fourth grade, said she feels more confident to participate in class. She said her confidence was aided by smaller class sizes, which is something she loves about private school. She said that the relationships she's been able to cultivate with her private school teachers have also made her feel more motivated in school.

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