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2012 Technical Assistance Sessions. Guidance for Charter School Grant Applicants Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Purpose of this session. Provide basic charter school information Review charter school grant guidelines and applications Provide Technical assistance.

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2012 Technical Assistance Sessions

Guidance for Charter School Grant Applicants

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Purpose of this session
Purpose of this session

  • Provide basic charter school information

  • Review charter school grant guidelines and applications

  • Provide Technical assistance

What is a charter school
What is a Charter School?

Charter School: A charter school is a tuition-free public school created on the basis of a contract or “charter” between the school and a local school board or other authorizer. A charter school has more freedom than a traditional public school in return for a commitment to meet higher standards of accountability. (NACSA, 2006)

Wisconsin state statute s 118 40
Wisconsin State Statute s. 118.40

  • Allows anyone to create a charter school;

  • Specifies who can authorize a charter school: school boards, the UW-Milwaukee, the City of Milwaukee and the UW-Parkside;

  • Has no cap on the numbers that can be created.

Exemptions and requirements
Exemptions and Requirements

Charter schools are exempt from most state education laws, but must:

--Participate in the WKCE

--Complete the annual School Performance Report (SPR)

--Count their students for membership

--Employ DPI-licensed teachers

More requirements
More Requirements

  • Must be open to all students in the district – cannot discriminate

  • May not require any student to enroll

  • May not charge tuition

  • Must follow all health and safety requirements of public schools

Autonomy and accountability
Autonomy and Accountability

  • Charter schools have increased autonomy and flexibility under the law in return for accountability.

  • Charter schools are accountable to their authorizer to meet the goals in their charters and to produce positive student achievement results

Type of charter school
Type of Charter School

School Board authorizer determines type of charter school:

“Instrumentality”--School board employs all staff in the charter school, or

“Non-Instrumentality”--School board does not employ any staff in the charter school

5 year charter limit
5-Year Charter Limit

  • Under Wisconsin law, contracts/charters may be for any term not exceeding 5 school years.

  • At the end of the term, the authorizer may renew the charter school charter/contract with the governance board if goals are met or close the school if goals not met.

Charter school contract
Charter School Contract

  • Contract must include 16 items per state law (see benchmarks in packet)

    • 15 items included in §118.40(1m)(b)

    • The 16th item, the amount paid to the charter §118.40(3)(b)

  • Other provisions agreed to by the parties

Nacsa standards
NACSA standards

State Law in s. 118.40(3)(e):

When establishing or contracting for the establishment of a charter school under this section, a school board …shall consider the principles and standards for quality charter schools established by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers.


Governance autonomy required
Governance: Autonomy Required

  • Charter school‘s autonomy and independence required by federal law

  • Charter school must be run by an independent governance board not the district administration and school board

  • Charter school is governed by a contract--the charter--between the governance board and school board.

Independent governance board
Independent Governance Board

  • Members of governance board are parents and community representatives

  • Governance Board cannot include administrators or school board members. Teachers should not serve on governance board to avoid conflicts of interest

Governance board powers
Governance Board Powers

Independent governance board must have control over:

  • Operating budget for charter school not just control over grant funds

  • Policies for charter school

  • Personnel for charter school

Charter school or a program
Charter School or a Program?

The charter school must provide the student’s elementary or secondary education

Core subjects must be delivered in the charter school

A charter high school must award a high school diploma

Program or school
Program or School?

  • The charter school must have at least one or more teachers serving only the charter school—it cannot share all staff with another school

  • All students must be reported as enrolled at the charter school rather than at another school

Lottery admissions
Lottery & Admissions

  • Federal law: Students must be admitted on the basis of a randomlottery if more students apply for admission to the charter school than can be accommodated.

    See federal Nonregulatory guidance (part E) in your packets

Exemptions to lottery
Exemptions to Lottery

  • Students previously admitted

  • Siblings of students previously admitted

  • Children of founders and staff

  • Must define who are the founders in the charter and must limit the children of founders and staff to less than 10% of the total enrollment

Lottery continued
Lottery (continued)

You cannot have special lotteries based on students’:


--race or

--socio-economic status

Recruit to achieve balance

Wisconsin charter school grant program

Wisconsin Charter School Grant Program

Federal Requirements

State Application Process

All grant applications due

on April 16th

Eligible applicant
Eligible Applicant

  • Developer must submit local application to authorizing school board in a timely fashion

  • Planning grant applicants must submit a school board resolution approving the concept of the proposed charter school to DPI with the grant application on April 16

Funding cycle of 36 months
Funding Cycle of 36 Months

Planning Grant (12-18 months)

Initial Implementation Grant—first year of school operation (12 months)

Implementation Renewal Grant—second year of school operation (6-12 months)

Can t break the cycle of funding
Can’t break the cycle of funding

If you request planning funds for the 2012-13 school year, you must open the charter school in the fall of 2013 or no later than January 2014.

If you do not open the school by that time, you will break your “continuous contract” and therefore forfeit your right to future federal charter school funds.


Elementary charter schools k4 through 5 th grade
Elementary Charter Schools(K4 through 5th Grade)

Secondary charter schools 6 th through 12 th grades
Secondary Charter Schools(6th through 12th Grades)

Secondary charter schools sifi and economically disadvantaged 6 th through 12 th grades
Secondary Charter SchoolsSIFI and Economically Disadvantaged (6th through 12th Grades)

Verifying enrollments in the fall
Verifying enrollments in the fall

  • Planning grant applicants must estimate enrollment for following school year

  • Initial Implementation grant applicants must estimate the fall enrollment. This will be verified with the 3rd Friday count. If enrollment is less than estimated, the grant award may be reduced but it will not be increased until the next year.

Application narrative vision
Application Narrative: Vision

  • Why do you need to create a charter school to accomplish this vision?

  • How will the charter be different from existing schools?

  • What is innovative or unique?

  • Why can’t this be accomplished with a program in an existing school?

Narrative school goals
Narrative: School Goals

What are measurable school goals?

--Offering governance board training

--Improving attendance

--Reducing discipline referrals

School goals continued
School Goals (continued)

--Providing professional development

--Increasing graduation rate

--Promoting parent satisfaction

Charter school goals continued
Charter School Goals (continued)

  • How will you measure success in achieving these goals?

  • These goals must be in your charter—they could be changed at a later date

Narrative student achievement
Narrative: Student Achievement

  • What are the measurable student achievement goals?

  • Should include specific improvements in student behavior and in academic performance in the core subjects.

  • These goals must be in your charter.

Student achievement goals
Student Achievement Goals

  • To measure success, you must administer a standardized test in the fall and spring of each year

  • See Standardized Test Results Template in your packets

Standardized tests required
Standardized tests required

  • 1. Mean or median scale score for the school in reading and math for each grade level.

  • 2. Scale score at the 25th and 75th percentiles in reading and math for each grade level.

  • 3. National percentile ranks of these scale scores.

Professional development plan
Professional Development Plan

  • What skills do teachers and administrators need and how will they be trained?

  • How will you provide training for transfer teachers or for new hires?

  • Plan should include participation through Polycom or Cisco distance learningsystem with charter school networks.

Narrative governance and autonomy
Narrative: Governance and Autonomy

  • Which school board policies will be waived to enable this charter school to be autonomous and innovative?

  • If you don’t need to waive any school board policies, you don’t need to be a charter school--you are following the same policies every other school must follow—you aren’t innovative or autonomous.

Narrative creating a governance board from a planning committee
Narrative: Creating a Governance Board from a Planning Committee

  • What skill sets do governance board members need?

  • How will governance board members be selected? You can’t be independent if the school board or the administration pick the governance board members.

  • Non-stock corporate structure and 501(c)(3) non-profit status create stability.

Narrative governance board
Narrative: Governance Board Committee

  • Describe the governance board’s power over budgets, personnel and policy

  • Describe how your charter school will be managed—principal on site, teacher-led, etc.

  • Describe how the governance board will receive training on its responsibilities and procedures.

Narrative planning process
Narrative: Planning Process Committee

  • Planning grantees must describe their current planning efforts and planning committee

  • Must describe the work that remains to be done and the timeline

  • Must describe how parents and members of the community have been involved

Narrative planning process1
Narrative: Planning Process Committee

  • Implementation grantees must describe the work that must be done prior to the opening of the charter school in the fall

  • Describe coaching, consultants, training of staff in the summer

  • Describe how staff will receive training if they cannot attend the summer sessions

Narrative admissions and lottery
Narrative: Admissions and Lottery Committee

  • What is your plan for serving students with disabilities in the charter school?

  • Remember, the charter school cannot discriminate in admissions against students with disabilities.

  • Your special education director must be part of planning efforts.

Admissions and lottery
Admissions and Lottery Committee

  • What is your admissions policy? Attendance must be voluntary.

  • How and when will you conduct a random lottery?

  • Establish specific deadlines for accepting applications. Will you wait for open enrollment applicants or not?

Virtual charter schools
Virtual Charter Schools Committee

  • Open enrolled students must physically attend school in the nonresident school district except for those attending virtual charter schools.

  • Please review Wis. Stats. 118.40(8) to see the specific requirements all virtual schools must meet.

Planning budget phase i
Planning: Budget Phase I Committee

Planning grant funds paid in two installments:

Phase I can include up to 50% of the grant and may be used for staff development and curriculum planning; no equipment for the charter school can be purchased in Phase I.

Planning budget phase ii
Planning Budget Phase II Committee

Phase II funds will be released when the charter is received by DPI and the governance board is operational

Phase II funds can be used to buy equipment and supplies for the new charter school.

Planning and implementation grant allowable expenses
Planning and Implementation Grant– Allowable Expenses Committee

  • Professional development of teachers or other staff

  • Orientation and training of planning team, school board or governance board members

  • Extended teacher contracts – for the purposes of planning/curriculum work

Allowable expenses continued
Allowable expenses (continued) Committee

  • Costs of materials for staff development

  • Costs for charter school site visits or conferences including mileage, meals and lodging

  • Salaries for short or long-term substitutes to cover teachers involved in planning activities

Allowable expenses continued1
Allowable Expenses (continued) Committee

  • Equipment for school including computers, desks, chairs, tables, etc. and Polycom or Cisco Distance Learning ($15,000) (only at Phase II of planning grant after charter submitted)

  • Curriculum materials, books

  • Consultants’ fees

Allowable expenses continued2
Allowable Expenses (continued) Committee

  • Refrigerator/stove for food service

  • Attorneys fees limited to $5000

  • 3% of planning and implementation grants to the Wisconsin Innovative Schools Network (WISN) or to a similar charter school network (See WISN pamphlet in your packets)

Expenses not allowed
Expenses Not Allowed Committee

No operational costs. If an expense continues year after year, it is an operational cost and cannot be funded with the federal charter school grant funds. Examples:

  • Salaries and fringe for: teaching staff who instruct students, or for a principal, school coordinator, accountant or counselors

  • Purchase or Rent of Facility

Expenses not allowed1
Expenses Not Allowed Committee

  • No remodeling or construction of classrooms even for ADA compliance

  • No purchase of vehicles, boats, trailers

  • No transportation of students or field trips

  • No honorariums for students or governance board members

Budget worksheets for 5 years
Budget Worksheets for 5 years Committee

  • Expense and revenue worksheets—on the DPI website with grant applications and in your packets

  • Completing these worksheets will help the governance board plan for future operations after federal start-up funds are no longer available

Budget worksheet expenses
Budget Worksheet: Expenses Committee

Salaries and Wages:

  • Administrative staff salaries and wages

  • Classroom staff salaries and wages

  • Extended contracts for staff salary and wages

  • Special education and pupil services

Budget worksheet revenues
Budget Worksheet: Revenues Committee

Contract amount and Contributions

School fees

Food service

Other government payments

Fundraising or external contributions

Grant awards timelines
Grant Awards: Timelines Committee

  • Peer review of applications completed in early May

  • DPI internal review and approval by state superintendent in June and July

  • Press release of grants funded and notifications sent to successful applicants in July and August

Grant awards
Grant Awards Committee

  • To receive a grant award, the applicant must respond to any revisions required by the peer reviewers

  • If applicable, a revised contract must be submitted

  • Grant award period runs from August 1 through the following July 31

Future budget revisions
Future Budget Revisions Committee

Submit signed budget change request form PI- 9600 showing the current and revised budget (see copy in your packets)

The form must be signed by the Governance Board President

Keys to successful application
Keys to Successful Application Committee

  • Have a planning committee working a year before you apply;

  • Visit other charter schools before you apply (some have funds for that purpose);

  • Provide early training for your school board to ensure they understand autonomy.

Keys to success continued
Keys to Success (continued) Committee

  • Consult with your special education director and business manager;

  • Allocate funds to WISN;

  • Purchase a Polycom or Cisco videoconferencing system; and

  • Use an editor or consultant to review your application prior to submittal.

Dissemination grant program

Dissemination Grant Program Committee

Due April 16th

Eligibility Committee

  • The charter school must have been in operation for at least 3 consecutive years—apply in 4th year of school’s operation.

  • The school must demonstrate overall success including substantial progress in improving student achievement.

Eligibility Committee

  • The school must document high levels of parental satisfaction.

  • The school must describe the management and the leadership necessary to overcome initial start-up problems.

Dissemination grant guidelines
Dissemination Grant Guidelines Committee

Cannot use funds for school operations.

  • Provide a service or product designed to improve student performance in other public schools, including charter schools

  • Offer visitation dates, professional development and coaching of planning teams

Dissemination collaboration
Dissemination Collaboration Committee

  • Participate in building charter school networks of similar curricular models (e.g. Montessori, Green, Project-based, STEM) through the WISN or similar networks

  • Participate in Polycom Distance Learning activities as presenter

Dissemination collaboration1
Dissemination Collaboration Committee

Schedule Visitation Days so others may see your model charter school in action:

--1 day required for dissemination grantees

--2 days required for dissemination renewal grantees

Allocate $20,000 to the WISN to support statewide collaboration efforts

Dissemination grants
Dissemination Grants Committee

  • Dissemination first year: $125,000

    (can carry-over unspent funds to second year with DPI approval)

  • Dissemination Renewal: $125,000

    2nd year

Grant applications on dpi website
Grant Applications on DPI Website Committee

Download copies of the planning, implementation, implementation renewal, dissemination and dissemination renewal applications at the DPI charter schools website at:


State charter school conference
State Charter School Conference Committee

March 15-16, 2012, at the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva

Register for the conference through the Wisconsin Charter Schools Association website at:


Helpful links
Helpful Links Committee

Wisconsin Innovative Schools Network (WISN) http://www.wisn.net

National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA)


National Alliance of Public Charter Schools http://www.publiccharters.org

Dpi charter consultants
DPI Charter Consultants Committee

Margaret McMurray (CESAs 1,7,8, 2Rs)

[email protected] (608) 266-5728

Barry Golden (CESAs 2,3,4,5, 6, 9,10,11,12)

[email protected]

(608) 267-9111

Dpi contacts for help
DPI Contacts for Help Committee

  • Al Virnig, Senior Accountant, Help with claims: [email protected] or (608) 266-2428

  • Scott Eagleburger, Education Specialist, Help with questions related to grants: [email protected] or (608) 266-5880