Member updates. Recent research. Event recaps and photos. 
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2015 3rd Quarter Newsletter
President's Message

Rob photo
Members and friends of the Forum may have noticed that we've been pretty busy lately. During this past quarter we released six reports, which is the most in any quarter since I joined the Forum in January 2008. And, if that's not prolific enough, we anticipate releasing an additional seven or eight reports in the fourth quarter of 2015. So what's going on here?  Is this productivity legitimate, or does the Governmental Research Association need to begin testing Forum researchers for performance-enhancing drugs?

 Continue reading...
Property values up, taxes down

Our annual property tax and values report was front page news in early September. This year's report finds that property tax levies decreased by 3% across the region, while property values increased (by 2%), though at a slower rate than last year. Accompanying the written report were online interactive data visualizations showing multi-year county-by-county trends. Stay tuned for the release of our 2016 City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County budget briefs in mid-October, which will provide insight into next year's property tax bills.

 Access the report, municipality breakdown, data visualizations, and media coverage
Taking attendance

Our latest education research explores the number of teachers in the four-county metro area as well as characteristics such as race, education attainment, and years of experience. The report is the first in the three-part Milwaukee Educator Series. The second report will provide a similar look at the characteristics of school leaders in the region. The final report will focus on the teacher pipeline to determine if Metro Milwaukee is facing a shortage of teachers in the near future.

Read the research and media coverage
Public funding for community development in Milwaukee

Our August report on federal, state, and local funding trends for programs that are important to Milwaukee neighborhoods has generated widespread attention. The report was covered in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service and we presented it to a group of nonprofit leaders at the Zilber Family Foundation and to the Community Development Funding Alliance. Community development will be an area of increased activity for the Forum, as we also have agreed to house a new position created by Alliance leaders that will be coordinating community development efforts led by local philanthropists. 

Read the research and media coverage
In case you missed it...

The Forum released several other research reports in the third quarter, including:

Experts discuss region's infrastructure challenges

Do we have a grip on Metro Milwaukee's local infrastructure repair needs and do we have the revenue capacity to address those needs? A panel of high-ranking officials explored these questions and more at a Viewpoint Luncheon on September 21. The luncheon kicked off a new Forum research project on infrastructure challenges in Metro Milwaukee.

Policy in a Pub

Nearly 100 people gathered to hear about our research on philanthropic capacity to address the needs of our arts, cultural, and entertainment assets and institutions. Researcher Anne Chapman analyzed recent trends in charitable giving and assessed what the future might hold.
New faces at the Forum

Our 2015-16 Norman N. Gill Fellow and University of Wisconsin-Madison PhD student, Chris Spahr (pictured right), started his research study that will provide an analysis of the challenges presented by childhood obesity in Milwaukee and assess the level of collaboration needed to promote policy, systems, and environmental changes in support of obesity prevention. 

Also, the Forum welcomed our two new Public Policy Reporting Fellows, Wyatt Massey and Marlita Bevenue. Wyatt and Marlita are graduate students at Marquette University and will be working at the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service
Thank you, Ben and Mitch!

Each summer, the Forum hosts two interns to work on some of our research projects. We wanted to thank this year's interns, Ben Binversie and Mitch Harris, for their hard work this summer. Ben's main project was our annual schooling report, which will be released in October. Mitch helped put together our property values and taxes report, released earlier in September.
New members

The Forum is a membership organization, and our members are what have kept us a vital part of the community for more than 100 years. We'd like to welcome the following new members to the Public Policy Forum community:

Center for Resilient Cities
Children's Community Health Plan
iCare Independent Health Care Plan
League of Wisconsin Municipalities
Medical Society of Milwaukee County
Wisconsin Department of Transportation SE Region 
Lisa Boyd
Sarah Greenberg
Charles Koehn
Jamie Gunn
Upcoming events

Registration is now open for our upcoming Viewpoint Luncheon: When the Mental Health and Justice Systems Collide on Monday, October 26 at the Crowne Plaza in Wauwatosa.

Save the date for our 2016 Annual Meeting: January 13, 2016 from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. at the Wisconsin Club.