MADISON — Applications for federal grants through the Wisconsin Charter Schools Program (WCSP) are now available on the Department of Public Instruction Charter Grant website.
Applicants may apply for funding from the state’s $95 million federal grant awarded last fall, with subgrant awards covering up to five years of activity. The grant cycle can include up to $150,000 for planning and program design during the first 12-months of the grant period. Charter school proposals focused on improving outcomes for educationally disadvantaged secondary students may apply for and receive additional priority funding through this competition. No total grant award, including priority funding and funding for planning, will exceed $900,000.
Grants can be to 1) open and prepare for the operation of new charter schools, 2) open and prepare for the operation of replicated high-quality charter schools, or 3) expand existing high-quality charter schools. Applications will be scored by an expert panel of peer-reviewers and recommendations will be submitted to State Superintendent Tony Evers for final approval and award decisions.
“Wisconsin’s federal grant supports the expansion of high-quality charter schools throughout Wisconsin, and is especially targeted toward our middle and high school kids from educationally disadvantaged families,” Evers said. “I look forward to seeing the innovative proposals charter developers and operators submit to strengthen the collaboration and partnerships that are the foundation of successful public schools.”
Charter schools are public schools that offer innovative programming in exchange for flexibility with regard to state laws regulating schools. A charter school is created through a contract between an independent charter governance board and an authorizer. Charter schools are held accountable by their authorizer for the performance goals and other programmatic, operational, and financial provisions in the charter contract. The charter school’s governing board is autonomous and controls staffing, programming, budgeting, and all other aspects of the charter school’s operation.
Under current law, the state’s public school districts, the City of Milwaukee, the Waukesha County executive, the College of Menominee Nation, the Lac Courte Orielles Ojibwa Community College, the University of Wisconsin System Office of Educational Opportunity, the chancellor of any University of Wisconsin System institution, and each technical college district board in Wisconsin can authorize a charter school and are eligible to apply for grants.
More information regarding grant requirements is available through the WCSP grant informational webinar. Grant applications are posted on the department’s Federal Charter School Grants webpage and are due by 4:30 p.m. on March 9.