2013 - 2014 LEGISLATURE
October 2, 2013 - Introduced by Senators Darling,
Farrow, Vukmir, Lazich and
Grothman, cosponsored by Representatives Sanfelippo, Stone,
Kooyenga, Craig, Kapenga, Kuglitsch, LeMahieu, Jagler, Ballweg,
Bernier, Knodl, Pridemore and Kleefisch. Referred to Committee on
Government Operations, Public Works, and Telecommunications.
1An Act to renumber and amend
119.46, 119.60 (1) and 2
119.60 (2); and to create
119.61 of the statutes; relating to: authorizing the
3city of Milwaukee to sell eligible school facilities to eligible purchasers.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Under current law, the city of Milwaukee (city) owns the school buildings and
school grounds of the Milwaukee Public School (MPS) District. Generally,
city-owned property used for school purposes may be sold only upon the written
request of the MPS board and if the Milwaukee Common Council adopts a resolution
approving the sale. However, if the common council finds that city-owned property
used for school purposes has been unused or underutilized for at least 12 consecutive
months, or if the MPS board has determined by resolution prior to January 1, 2011,
that any city-owned property used for school purposes is surplus to the needs of the
district, the common council may sell or lease that property if it adopts a resolution
to do so. If the city sells or leases property identified as underutilized or surplus, the
net proceeds must be deposited into the school operations fund, which is used to pay
the principal, fees, and premiums due on bonds issued for school facilities.
This bill creates an additional mechanism for the sale of certain eligible,
city-owned school buildings. The bill defines an eligible school building as an MPS
school building that has been either 1) designated as surplus, underutilized, or
vacant on any resolution adopted by the MPS board within the previous five years,
provided the board is unable to demonstrate that the school building is no longer
surplus, underutilized, or vacant; or 2) unused or satisfies any condition qualifying
the building as underutilized for 12 consecutive months. The bill defines an
underutilized school building as a school building that satisfies any of the following:
a) less than 40 percent of the square footage of the school is used for the instruction
of pupils on a daily, school day basis; b) with limited exceptions, the school is not
staffed on a full-time basis by a principal and instructional staff assigned exclusively
to the school; or c) the number of hours of pupil instruction offered in the school
building in the previous school year was less than 80 percent of the number of hours
of pupil instruction required to be offered by MPS. The bill requires the MPS board
to annually prepare a detailed inventory of all school buildings in MPS and submit
that inventory to the city clerk, the Department of Public Instruction, and the Joint
Committee on Finance. The inventory must include the size and capacity of each
school building and whether the building has ever been designated as surplus. The
city clerk must publish information about eligible school buildings on the city's Web
Under the bill, once a school building has qualified as an eligible school
building, only an education operator, with certain exceptions, may submit a letter of
interest to the common council to purchase the building. The bill defines an
education operator as any of the following: 1) the operator of a charter school
established by the common council of the city, the chancellor of the University of
Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, or
the Milwaukee Area Technical College district board; 2) the operator of a private
school; 3) the operator of a charter school that is not an instrumentality of MPS; 4)
an individual or group that is pursuing a contract with an entity under item 1 to
operate a school as a charter school; 5) a person that is pursuing a contract with MPS
to operate a school as a charter school that is not an instrumentality of the school
district; or 6) an entity or organization that has entered into a written agreement
with any of the education operators identified in items 1 to 5 to purchase or lease a
building within which that education operator will operate a school.
The bill requires the city to update its Web page when a letter of interest has
been submitted and to solicit additional letters of intent for a period of 28 days. If
more than one education operator submits a letter of interest, the common council
must initiate a request-for-proposal process and select a committee to select the
most suitable eligible buyer. If a building qualifies as an eligible school building for
48 consecutive months, any person may submit a letter of interest to the common
council. Under the bill, the common council must, in a timely manner, negotiate a
reasonable purchase price and terms for the purchase with the selected buyer. The
bill specifies that a reasonable purchase price must be based upon the price paid for
other comparable school buildings sold by the city within the previous five years or
on an appraisal of the eligible school building in which comparable properties are
Under current law, the city attorney also serves as the legal advisor for the
board. Current law permits the board to retain a separate attorney to represent the
board under specified circumstances: if the board determines that the board requires
specialized legal expertise; if the city attorney does not have sufficient staff to
represent the interests of the board; or if a conflict of interest exists. This bill requires
the board to retain a separate attorney if the mayor, the common council, the city
attorney, or the board determines that any of the specified circumstances exist.
For further information see the local fiscal estimate, which will be printed as
an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
119.12 (6) of the statutes is renumbered 119.12 (6) (a) (intro.) and 2
amended to read:
(a) (intro.) The city attorney of the city shall be the legal adviser of 4
and attorney for the board, except that the board may
retain an attorney to 5
represent the board in any matter if any of
the following applies:
61. The mayor, the common council, the city attorney, or the
board determines 7
that it the board
requires specialized legal expertise not possessed by the city 8
92. The mayor, the common council, the
, or the board determines
10that the city attorney
does not have sufficient staff to adequately represent the 11
interests of the board or.
123. The mayor, the common council, the city attorney, or the board determines
a conflict of interest exists.
The city attorney shall notify the board as soon as a determination is made
15under par. (a) that the city attorney is unable to represent the board. The
board shall 16
provide the city attorney with reasonable notice of any board meeting at which the 17
board will consider retention of an attorney.
119.46 of the statutes is amended to read:
19119.46 Taxes for school operations fund. (1)
As part of the budget 20
transmitted annually to the common council under s. 119.16 (8) (b), the board shall
report the amount of money required for the ensuing school year to operate all public 2
schools in the city under this chapter, to repair and keep in order school buildings and 3
equipment, to make material improvements to school property, and to purchase 4
necessary additions to school sites. The report shall specify the amount of net 5
proceeds from the sale or lease of city-owned property used for school purposes 6
deposited in the immediately preceding school year into the school operations fund 7
as specified under s. 119.60 (2m) (c) or (5) and the net proceeds from the sale of an
8eligible school building deposited in the immediately preceding school year into the
9school operations fund as specified under s. 119.61 (4)
. The amount included in the 10
report for the purpose of supporting the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program under 11
s. 119.23 shall be reduced by the amount of aid received by the board under s. 121.136 12
and by the amount specified in the notice received by the board under s. 121.137 (2). 13
The common council shall levy and collect a tax upon all the property subject to 14
taxation in the city, which shall be equal to the amount of money required by the 15
board for the purposes set forth in this subsection, at the same time and in the same 16
manner as other taxes are levied and collected. Such taxes shall be in addition to all 17
other taxes which the city is authorized to levy. The taxes so levied and collected, any 18
other funds provided by law and placed at the disposal of the city for the same 19
purposes, and the moneys deposited in the school operations fund under
(1), (2m) (c), and (5), and 119.61 (4)
shall constitute the school operations fund.
If moneys specified in s. 119.60 (1), (2m) (c), or (5) or 119.61 (4)
are deposited 22
in the school operations fund, the moneys shall be used to pay the principal due on 23
any bonds issued under s. 66.1333 (5r) (b), to make sinking fund payments with 24
respect to such bonds, to purchase or redeem such bonds, to pay any redemption 25
premium required to be paid when such bonds are redeemed prior to maturity, or to
establish a defeasance escrow account for such bonds in an amount sufficient to 2
provide for the payment of principal, any redemption premium and interest on such 3
bonds when due, whether at maturity or upon prior redemption, and to pay any fees 4
or expenses associated with the establishment of the defeasance escrow account.
119.60 (1) of the statutes is amended to read:
Except as provided in sub. (2m) (c) and s. 119.61
, if any real property 7
within the city which is used for school purposes is sold, the board shall determine 8
whether the proceeds of the sale are deposited in the school operations fund under 9
s. 119.46 or are deposited in the school construction fund under s. 119.48.
119.60 (2) of the statutes is amended to read:
Except as provided in sub. (2m) and s. 119.61
, city-owned property 12
used for school purposes shall be sold by the city upon written request of the board 13
if the common council adopts a resolution approving the sale. If, within 12 months 14
after a written request by the board, the city has not disposed of the property, has 15
failed to obtain a written agreement to dispose of the property,
or has not provided 16
the board with a written report giving specific reasons, which are not identified by 17
the city attorney as constituting a conflict of interest, for its failure to dispose of the 18
property or to obtain an agreement to dispose of the property, the board may retain 19
a real estate agent to represent the board in its real estate transactions.
119.61 of the statutes is created to read:
21119.61 Surplus property. (1)
In this section:
(a) "Education operator" means any of the following:
1. The operator of a charter school established under s. 118.40 (2r).
2. The operator of a private school.
3. The operator of a charter school that is not an instrumentality of the school 2
district, as determined under s. 118.40 (7).
4. An individual or group that is pursuing a contract with an entity under s. 4
118.40 (2r) (b) to operate a school as a charter school.
5. A person that is pursuing a contract with the board under s. 118.40 (2m) to 6
operate a school as a charter school that is not an instrumentality of the school 7
6. An entity or organization that has entered into a written agreement with any 9
of the operators identified in subds. 1. to 5. to purchase or lease a building within 10
which the operator identified in subds. 1. to 5. will operate a school.
(b) "Eligible school building" means a school building in the school district 12
operating under this chapter that satisfies any of the following:
1. The school building has been designated as surplus, underutilized, or vacant 14
on any resolution adopted within the previous 5 years by the board, and the board 15
is unable to demonstrate that the school building is no longer surplus, underutilized, 16
2. The school building has been unused or satisfies any condition qualifying the 18
building as an underutilized school building for a period of 12 consecutive months, 19
including the 12 months preceding the effective date of this subdivision .... [LRB 20
(c) "Underutilized school building" means a school building that satisfies any 22
of the following:
1. Less than 40 percent of the square footage in the building is used for 24
instruction of pupils on a daily, school day basis.
2. a. Subject to subd. 2. b., the school is not staffed on a full-time basis by a 2
principal and instructional staff assigned exclusively to the school.
b. A school building that is staffed on a full-time basis by instructional staff 4
assigned exclusively to the school is not an underutilized school building under this 5
paragraph if the principal of the school also serves as the principal of another school.
3. The number of hours of pupil instruction offered in the school building in the 7
previous school year was less than 80 percent of the number of hours of pupil 8
instruction required to be scheduled under s. 121.02 (1) (f) 2.
(a) No later than 30 days after the effective date of this paragraph .... [LRB 10
inserts date], and annually thereafter, the board shall prepare an inventory of all 11
school buildings in the school district operating under this chapter. The board shall 12
sort the information in the inventory by the use of the building at the time the report 13
is prepared and shall include all of the following for each school building in the 14
1. The total square footage of and the number of classrooms in the school 16
2. The portion of the total square footage being used for direct pupil instruction.
3. The number of pupils the school building can accommodate and the number 19
of pupils receiving instruction in the school building.
4. The name of the principal and the number of full-time instructional staff 21
assigned to the school.