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Charter Schools in Wisconsin


Important Dates and Information


Changes to the Wisconsin Charter School Law

Under Act 55, changes have been made to the Charter School Law effective July 13, 2015. The above link is a summary of those changes.  


FAQ on Grant Funds used for Conferences

Charter School Grantees and Grant Applicants:  please review the attached guidance from the U.S. Department of Education.  It includes important information in the form of an FAQ on how the federal charter school grant funds may be used for meetings and conferences.  Please note the specific questions related to food, room costs and entertainment.  This information should guide your current and future charter school grant budgeting decisions. 


School Fees - DPI Information Sheet

This information sheet is designed to explain what the limits are and answer the most common questions that arise in the area of fees that can or cannot be charged by the School Districts.

The Wisconsin Constitution, Art X, Sec. 3 states:

"The legislature shall provide by law for the establishment of district schools ... such schools shall be free and without charge for tuition to all children between the ages of 4 and 20 years..."; 


Online Learning: A Guide for Schools

This document provides guidance for districts and schools on virtual/blended programming as well as establishing virtual charter schools. Sections include an overview of online learning scenarios, legislation, information for parents, and frequently asked questions.

What is a Charter School

Charter schools are public, nonsectarian schools created through a businesslike contract or "charter" between the charter governance board and the sponsoring school board or other chartering authority. The Wisconsin charter school law gives charter schools freedom from most state rules and regulations in exchange for greater accountability for results. The charter defines the missions and methods of the charter school. The chartering authority holds the school accountable to its charter. The charter school motto is "Autonomy for Accountability."

Wisconsin established charter schools to foster an environment for innovation and parental choice. They can exist as living laboratories that influence the larger public school system and introduce an element of competition within that system. Charter schools are created with the best elements of regular public schools in mind. Their leaders may experiment with different instructional theories, site-based management techniques, and other innovations. They learn, sometimes by trial and error, what works best for their student population. Regular schools can observe and learn from what happens in the charter school and make similar improvements. Through this process, the entire public school system is continually challenged to improve itself.

Wisconsin also wants each charter school to meet the special needs and interests of its community, parents, and students. This is what makes each charter school unique. While many goals for educating and preparing children are similar, each charter school fulfills a specific local need in education. Some charter schools offer a choice to parents and students in the area of curriculum, teaching methodology, and classroom structure. Others work to keep that small population of at-risk students from falling through the cracks, offering counseling, personal attention, and support. In districts with charter schools, the community, school boards, and parents have identified their public education needs and have established charters that meet them.

For more information on charter schools in Wisconsin see:

Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau Information Paper on Charter Schools, January 2015

Wisconsin DPI Legislative Report on Charter Schools 2013-14

What is a 2R Charter School?


What is a Virtual Charter School?


Consultant:  Latoya Holiday, (608) 266-5880


For questions about this information, contact Latoya Holiday (608) 266-5880