Joining Forces

Exploring service sharing opportunities for Milwaukee Public Schools

June 2017


Our latest research finds that opportunities exist for greater service sharing among the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), City of Milwaukee, and Milwaukee County. The parties should start smart small, however, and recognize that higher-quality and more efficient services — as opposed to substantial cost savings — should be the primary objective.

Key findings/recommendations:

  • Start with small-scale, low-risk, and low-cost service sharing arrangements. Leaders from the three jurisdictions could build toward high-yield service consolidations by starting with small projects with clear benefits, such as joint purchasing or in-kind exchange of goods, services, and facilities.
  • The parks and recreation area lends itself particularly well to service sharing between MPS and Milwaukee County, particularly with regard to facility maintenance. The report illustrates this potential with a case study that examines shared mowing services in the Humboldt Park area.
  • Include service sharing as part of a joint legislative agenda. The three governments could coordinate their government relations resources to advocate for State actions that fund, reward, and induce local governments to establish new or expanded service sharing arrangements.
  • Establish a formal joint advisory body devoted to shared services between MPS, the City, and the County that could structurally integrate intergovernmental cooperation and service sharing as a standard approach to policy and practice.