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Challenge Academy

Program Description

The Wisconsin National Guard Challenge Academy is a residential program committed to improving the quality of life for 16 to 18 year old at-risk teens. In the residential phase, much of the cadets’ time is spent in classrooms where preparing for the High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED) testing is the priority. In addition to classroom instruction by licensed teachers, activities include anger management classes, character development curriculum, rappelling, ROPES courses, experiential activities, community service projects and leadership experiences.

Post-residential Phase

During the 12 month post-residential phase, graduates of the residential phase are matched with community volunteers (mentors) to assist with the continuation of personal growth and preparation for becoming a contributing citizen.

Enrollment Status

Cadets selected to attend the Challenge Academy are considered enrolled in the school district of residence for purposes of district equalization aid eligibility, special education responsibility and revenue limit authority.

Challenge Academy Details

Browse the Challenge Academy website or browse the links below for further details (including information about the application process).

Financial Information

2001 Act 109 created a change in the funding mechanism for the Challenge Academy. As a result of the changes, school districts with Challenge Academy cadets must contribute a portion of the costs of students enrolled in the Challenge Academy from their district (per Wis. Stats. §121.095).

Department of Defense Funding

On October 28, 2009, PL 111-84 was signed into law authorizing the Department of Defense to assume up to 75 percent of the costs of the Challenge Program, effectively reducing the states matching contribution of 40 percent to 25 percent of the costs. Provision is made for the district to count the cadets for equalization aid and revenue limit purposes.

Cost Calculations

The Department of Military Affairs (DMA) will calculate the average per pupil costs as required under 321.03, Wis. Stats., for the Challenge Academy based on actual costs (including the costs of special education services) and report those costs on a per pupil basis to the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) by May 1. DPI will then reduce the June equalization aid payment of each participating school district by the number of cadets times the per pupil amount, or the district’s revenue limit per member, whichever is less.

Original Funding Memo

August 30, 2002 Memo - Challenge Academy Funding

Youth Challenge Per-Pupil Payment History

  • 2021-2022 = $8,464.62
  • 2020-21 = $7,059.17
  • 2019-20 = $5,352.74
  • 2018-19 = $5,629.53
  • 2017-18 = $4,937.32
  • 2016-17 = $4,956.26
  • 2014-15 = $4,749.29
  • 2013-14 = $5,191.14
  • 2015-16 = $5,049.24
  • 2012-13 = $4,883.60
  • 2011-12 = $4,781.77
  • 2010-11 = $4,639.57
  • 2009-10 = $6,791.44
  • 2008-09 = $6,532.00
  • 2007-08 = $6,256.66
  • 2006-07 = $7,836.14
  • 2005-06 = $7,226.57
  • 2004-05 = $6,048.32
  • 2003-04 = $6,417.75
  • 2002-03 = $6,238.58

Reporting Challenge Academy Membership for Equalization Aid and Revenue Limits in the PI-1563

The Wisconsin National Guard Challenge Academy operates two separate sessions per year, one beginning in August and one beginning in January. For each cadet remaining in their program past the two-week mark, the Academy reports to DPI student names and their respective districts of residence. State law indicates that for each reported student, the district of residence will be able to count them for aid and revenue limit purposes.

When the SFS team runs the aid and revenue limit programs, all students reported by the Challenge Academy are automatically included in the district membership FTE. Districts are NOT to automatically include these students in their PI-1563 reports.

Student Dropouts

Sometimes, the student will drop out of the Academy and return to the district. If this happens, there is a chance that the student will be counted automatically by DPI and also in the district September or January PI-1563 reports.

To avoid this possibility, all districts having a student reported by the Academy must verify whether or not that the student was included in either of the PI-1563 reports. Based on the district answers to those questions in the Challenge PI-1563-CA reports, DPI will adjust the membership accordingly.

Instructions for completing the PI-1563 Challenge Academy Report

For questions about this information, contact (608) 267-9114