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Wisconsin Watch partners with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. Read our methodology to learn how we check claims.


Milwaukee Public Schools enrollment was 67,500 in the 2022-23 school year — 9.6% less than the 2019-20 enrollment of 74,683.

That’s according to the latest annual figures from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Alan Borsuk, a senior fellow in law and public policy at Marquette University Law School and a longtime tracker of MPS enrollment, wrote in December that a major reason for MPS enrollment declines is an increase in Milwaukee pupils attending private schools or public schools outside of MPS.

He also cited the COVID-19 pandemic, smaller families, fewer teen births and the overall population decline in Milwaukee.

Statewide, K-12 public school enrollment has dropped for nine consecutive years, the nonpartisan Wisconsin Policy Forum reported in May 2023.

The decline likely reflects declining birth rates, students moving from public schools to private or home schooling and effects associated with the pandemic, the report said.

This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.


Wisconsin Department Of Public Instruction Enrollment Count | Milwaukee

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel With lots of options for education, MPS schools are losing students at an alarming rate

Wisconsin Policy Forum Budget Brief: School Budgets Hinge on Decisions in Madison

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Tom Kertscher joined as a Wisconsin Watch fact checker in January 2023 and contributes to our collaboration with the The Gigafact Project to fight misinformation online. Kertscher is a former longtime newspaper reporter, including at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who has worked as a self-employed journalist since 2019. His gigs include contributing writer for PolitiFact and sports freelancer for The Associated Press.