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Waiver and Alternative Compliance Information

COVID-19 Updated Information Regarding Waivers

Instructional Hours Waiver

Governor Tony Evers signed Emergency Order #10, which suspends requirements in administrative rule related to the waiving of the hours of instruction, on March 21. The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) is now able to provide an expedited waiver process for the instructional hours requirement via a simple form. DPI will approve all such requests.

Per state law, school boards will still need to hold a public hearing [s.118.38 (1) (b)] and document the date of the public hearing in the form to receive a waiver. The public hearing can be virtual or teleconferenced. Please see the Wisconsin Department of Justice guidance on public meetings during this public health emergency.

If you have any questions, please contact Tamara Mouw, Director of Teaching and Learning, at

Wisconsin Educator Effectiveness System Waiver

The Legislature developed the 20 Wisconsin Education Standards found in Wisconsin Administrative Code sec. PI 8.01, which establish minimum expectations for each school district. Standard 17 requires each school district to evaluate all licensed school personnel in their “first year of employment and, at least, every third year thereafter.” Wis. Stat. § 115.415 requires the specific process by which all Wisconsin districts meet the requirements listed in PI 8 for principals and teachers--the Wisconsin Educator Effectiveness System.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has provided guidance for how to complete the 2019-20 Educator Effectiveness Cycle for Summary Year educators here. If necessary, DPI will waive the requirements to complete an Educator Effectiveness Cycle for educators in their Summary Year in 2019-20, thereby waiving the requirements to meet PI 8.01 and Wis. Stat. § 115.415 for 2019-20. Here is the link to the Educator Effectiveness Waiver form:

If you have any questions, please contact Katie Rainey, Director of Educator Development and Support, at

Civics Graduation Requirement Waiver

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some students may not have passed the graduation requirement before Wisconsin schools were closed by Governor Tony Evers on March 18, 2020, which may prohibit their ability to graduate in 2020. To learn more about resources and a waiver for this requirement, go to the Wisconsin Civics Graduation Requirement web page.

Waiver and Alternative Compliance Information

For information about school start date waivers, see
Commencement of School Term (School Start Date) Information.

judge's gavel

118.38 Waivers of laws and rules. (1) (a) A school board may request the department to waive any school board or school district requirement in chs. 115 to 121 or in the administrative rules promulgated by the department under the authority of those chapters, except for statutes or rules related to any of the following:

  1. The health or safety of pupils.
  2. Pupil discrimination under s. 118.13.
  3. The pupil assessment program under s. 118.30 and the standardized reading test required under s. 121.02 (1) (r).
  4. Pupil records under s. 118.125.
  5. The collection of data by the department.
  6. The uniform financial fund accounting system under ss. 115.28 (13) and 115.30 (1) and audits of school district accounts under s. 120.14.
  7. Licensure or certification under s. 115.28 (7) or (7m) other than the licensure of the school district administrator or business manager.
  8. The commencement of the school term under s. 118.045.
  9. The requirements established for achievement guarantee contracts under s. 118.43 and for achievement gap reduction contracts under s. 118.44.

(b) Before requesting a waiver, the school board shall hold a public hearing in the school district on the request.

(lm) The school board shall specify in its request for a waiver its reason for requesting the waiver.

(2) (am) In determining whether to grant the waiver, the department shall consider all of the following factors and may consider additional factors:

  1. Whether the requirement impedes progress toward achieving a local improvement plan developed under sec. 309 (a) (3) of P.L. 103-227.
  2. If the school board has adopted educational goals for the school district, whether the requirement impedes progress toward achieving the goals.
(bm)  The department shall promulgate rules establishing criteria for waiving the requirement to schedule at least the number of hours of direct pupil instruction specified under s. 121.02 (1) (f) if school is closed for a reason specified in s. 115.01 (10) (b) or (c).

(3) A waiver is effective for 4 years. The secretary shall renew the waiver for additional 4-year periods if the school board has evaluated the educational and financial effects of the waiver over the previous 4-year period, except that the secretary is not required to renew a waiver if the secretary determines that the school district is not making adequate progress toward improving pupil academic performance.

Alternative Compliance

PI 8.01(3) Alternative Compliance.

(a) A school district board may request that the state superintendent approve a plan for alternative compliance with any of the school district standards under sub. (2). A school district requesting approval of alternative compliance under this subsection shall submit a written request to the state superintendent by September 1, if the alternative compliance plan is to be implemented during the spring semester, by March 1, if the alternative compliance plan is to be implemented during the fall semester. The request shall include all of the following information, as appropriate:
1. The school district standard addressed by the alternative compliance plan.
2. The means by which the alternative compliance plan addresses the objectives of the school district standard including all of the following information:
(a) The program objectives and anticipated outcomes of the alternative compliance plan.
(b) The rationale and research or other information supporting the alternative compliance plan.
(c) The staffing patterns which may be affected by the alternative compliance plan.
(d) The number of students by grade level to be affected by the alternative compliance plan.
(e) Any needed staff development to support the alternative compliance plan.
(f) Timelines for implementation of the alternative compliance plan.
(g) A description of how the alternative compliance will be evaluated, including a description of how progress toward meeting program objectives and anticipated outcomes identified under subd. 2. a. will be monitored and measured at regular intervals and at the conclusion of the year for which the plan is approved.
(b) 1. The state superintendent may approve a school district board's plan for alternative compliance with a school district standard, if he or she determines the alternative compliance plan will meet the objectives of the school district standard, maintains educational equity and will result in any of the following:
a. Improved efficiency in school administration of instruction.
b. Innovation in school district management or instruction, including but not limited to, progress towards outcome-based instruction and assessment; enhancement of educational opportunities; enhancement of education professions; and flexibility in staffing, programming and scheduling.
c. Other educational improvements.
2. The plan approved under subd. 1. May be subject to conditions specified by the state superintendent.
3. The state superintendent shall provide for the review of the requests for alternative compliance plans made under par. (a) and shall notify the school board of his or her decision within 60 days from the date the request is received. The decision shall be in writing and shall include the reasons for the decision.
4. The state superintendent may either hold a public hearing or request that the school district board hold a public hearing on the alternative compliance being proposed.
(c) 1. An initial alternative compliance plan may be approved for a 2 year period.
2. An alternative compliance plan may be renewed every 3 years after the initial plan approval only if an evaluation of the alternative compliance plan is provided by the school district board and is approved by the state superintendent.
3. The evaluation shall include information specified in par. (a) 2. G. and is subject to the same timelines specified under par. (a).

For questions about this information, contact Christine Tiedje (608) 266-3706