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Multi-District Charter Schools

Consortium Charter Schools, or Multi-District Charter Schools (MDS)

Definition: A consortium charter school, or multi-district charter school, is a district-authorized charter school that partners with other school districts to provide instruction to students outside of their own district.

Glossary: Definition of other relevant terms:

  • Resident District or Partnering District. The school district that is sending its own students to another district’s charter school.
  • Authorizing District. The school district who enters into a contract with a governance board to create and oversee the charter school. The authorizing district also would, in this case, enter into contracts with one or more partnering districts to provide instruction to those districts’ students.
  • Consortium Districts. Refers to all of the districts, i.e., the authorizing and partnering districts, that are parties to the consortium agreement.

How It Works: The basic structure of a student's enrollment in a multi-district charter school works as follows:

  1. The student remains a student in the resident/partnering district and the resident/partnering district is responsible for reporting ALL of their data.

  2. Typically, the partnering districts place the student under the charter school’s school code, which is created by the authorizing district.

  3. The authorizing district shares with partnering districts the courses, teacher information for WISEstaff, student attendance, administered assessments, and grades, but the resident/partnering district must enter this information into the SIS.


Enrollment Considerations

The charter school must carry out its own enrollment process, in which you have an open application process, a lottery and/or acceptance date, and the creation of a waitlist if need be. Once students are accepted, you can begin enrolling them. Refer to the WRCCS enrollment guidance for more information.

  Students who live in the authorizing district Students who open enroll into the authorizing district Students who live in the partnering districts
District Enrollment Student is already enrolled in authorizing district Student must apply to and enroll into authorizing district Student remains enrolled in partnering district
Charter School Enrollment Student must apply to and enroll in the charter school Student must apply to and enroll in the charter school Student must apply to and enroll in the charter school
Consortium Contracting N/A N/A Must create a contract in which the authorizing district bills the partnering district for the purchase of this student’s instruction
Data Reporting Authorizing district reports data (see Reporting Considerations below) Authorizing district reports data (see Reporting Considerations below) Authorizing district must provide the partnering district with the charter school’s school code and report all data to the partnering district. See School Code Considerations below.

School Code Considerations

Authorizing districts will need to acquire a new school code from DPI and will typically share it with their partnering school districts. Resident/partnering districts will need to add the charter school to their SIS as an option in which to place students. The creation of a new school or adding schools to your SIS may require support hours from your vendor. It will also require the work of your local administrator to enter the school information and transfer the students.

Below is a list of what fields the schools need to enter into the SIS:

  • District
  • School
  • Dist Code
  • School Code
  • School Agency Key / Ed-Fi Number
  • Low and High Grades

If you are a partnering district, and you use the affiliated school codes, then WISEdata reporting for the students attending those schools would be submitted under those school codes. That reporting would include enrollments, attendance, roster, special ed, discipline, etc. The students would display in WISEdata Portal in the same way that students currently do in your traditional schools.

Reporting Considerations

Resident/partnering districts remain accountable for their students attending the charter school.

  • The district report card for the participating district is comprised of all students in the district, i.e., it will include the students attending the consortium charter school. The students from participating districts are included in their district’s report card.
  • Students are enrolled into the virtual charter school and not just receiving services from a third-party vendor.
  • School codes will be established for the school in each consortium district. The school will appear as a school option in each consortium district in WISEdata, DPI directory, etc.
  • Consortium districts will count their students enrolled in the charter school as residents for state aid and revenue limit membership, and will report them as enrolled in and attending the school in their SIS.
  • Data from charter school students is used to generate a school report card and federal ESSA reports for the charter school. A single report card will be created for the charter school including all consortia students. Data that appears in the report card includes state test results, attendance, course and program participation, and graduation.

For a complete and detailed list of the data captured in the fall and spring snapshot, visit the WISEdata Snapshot Preparation Guidance webpage, Preparation and Timeline section

All data other than roster must be submitted by the resident/partnering district. Roster data submitted by the charter school with their authorizing district includes:

  • Student data
  • Staff data
  • Local Person ID

Special Education Considerations

From an accountability perspective, the participating districts maintain responsibility/accountability, including FAPE, for all students participating in the consortium. You may also need to make adjustments in your special education reporting tool, such as SEEDS or GoIDEA (formerly OASYS), so that you can place a student into another school.

The resident district must list the charter school as the school of placement. The resident school remains the FAPE district, the fiscal agent, and reporting district for the purposes of funding and accountability.

For general virtual charter school special ed guidelines, refer to the following pages:

Graduation Considerations

All districts need to agree on graduation requirements for the charter school so that all of the graduating students of the charter school either

  • also meet all minimum requirements of all districts, or
  • have permission from their district to meet the charter school’s requirements instead of their own district’s requirements and can still be awarded a district diploma.

Exiting the Consortia

Districts are encouraged to revisit and evaluate the consortium agreements each year.

Virtual Charter Schools Consortia Only

When greater than 50 percent of a virtual charter school’s (VCS) enrollments are open enrollment students, the VCS students that are from the authorizing district (which would include all of the open enrollment students) may not be included in that district’s report card, per statute.

The open enrollment percentage is calculated for the whole school, but then only district accountability for the authorizing district’s VCS students is suppressed. The partnering districts remain accountable for their own students.

Each consortium district is accountable for its own VCS students, and its VCS students are included in its district report card.

For school-level accountability, a single VCS report card is created that includes all the school’s students. On DPI’s report card sites, this report card is listed under the authorizing district.


Related Links:   

Open-Enrolled Students, Students Under Contract

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