11th-hour vote keeps Daniel Webster Secondary School open for middle school students

Daniel Webster Secondary School

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Public Schools administration recommended it be closed, but an eleventh-hour vote by the school board will keep the doors open at Daniel Webster Secondary School -- for now. But not everyone is staying.

The school board voted to end the high school, but keep the middle school. There is a question of what that will look like.

"I was very excited to get to know my students -- and I had a great first two-and-a-half weeks, and now it's over. I'm sad and my students are sad," said a Daniel Webster Secondary School teacher. 

Some teachers of Daniel Webster Secondary School hoped to pursued MPS school board not to close the school as recommended by the administration. This, after only 270 students showed up at Webster instead of the targeted 625.

"Webster is unique in terms of its loss of not getting students," said MPS Board Director, Terry Falk.

Terry Falk

The board decided to close the high school, leaving the middle school in tact with its initial 130 students. August 30th and 31st, parents were told of the possibility of closure, were introduced to reps from other schools and signed up their kids. It's unclear how many middle school students are actually left to attend Webster.

The hope is those who wanted to stay will return Tuesday, September 5th.

This is not the first major change for the school. In April 2016, MPS took over the school after the charter school, Universal Academy for the College Bound, pulled out with only two months left of class.

Daniel Webster Secondary School

"There are victims here. They are our students, they don't deserve that," said Amy Mizialko, supports Webster.

Daniel Webster Secondary School

Now, the high school closed two-and-a-half weeks into this school year. The students are now being steered toward James Madison or Vincent High Schools.

"They're done with this school. And it's very sad to see," said a Daniel Webster Secondary School teacher.

For several school board members, the major concern was hanging onto the Webster school building and keeping it from competitors. Suggested uses for the unused portion include a north side recreation center, professional development space and virtual school, or blended learning school.

MPS released the following statement in part:

“When the data tells us that there is a need for change, we want to be able to quickly make those changes. And we want all hands on deck, with the Superintendent leading the charge,” said Board President Mark Sain. “I am confident our dedicated staff members will continue to focus on moving academic achievement.”