DPI awards $7 million to 11 new and expanding charter schools

Wednesday was the last day of school for students in several area counties. (MGN)
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MADISON, Wis. (PRESS RELEASE) -- The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction approved 11 awards totaling more than $7 million in federal funds to plan, open, or expand charter schools in the state. The department received 21 grant applications, requesting a total of $13.9 million.

"Charter schools are one way for educators to innovate and engage the wide range of students in our communities," State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor said. "As we determined these awards, we prioritized expanding opportunities to students who face challenges. We want all students, no matter who they are or where they live, to have access to the resources and educational rigor they need to succeed."

This is the second round of funding in a five-year, $95 million grant awarded to Wisconsin by the U.S. Department of Education to support charter school activities.

The program provides three types of awards: planning and implementation grants for charter schools opening in the fall of 2020, implementation grants for schools which recently opened or will open in 2019, and grants to help existing, high-quality charter schools expand. Grant activities span from four to five years.

The state's program prioritizes growth for high-quality charter schools, especially those that increase access to alternative public school models and improve equity and academic outcomes for students. The program focuses on grades six through 12.

Additionally, grant evaluators considered applications that would work to promote best practices and collaboration between charter schools and other schools in the state.

Any school district in the state can authorize a charter school. Independent charter schools may be authorized by a list of public agencies given such authority by the Legislature. Applications for the third round of competitive charter school grants for the 2020-21 school year will open in late fall or early winter.