What is a Charter School?







Full text


2013 Federal Funding Conference

Guidance for Charter

School Grant Applicants




Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

What is a Charter School?

Charter School: A charter school is a tuition-free public schoolcreated on the basis of a contract or “charter” between the school and a local school board or other authorizer. A


charter school has more freedom than a traditional public school in return for a commitment to meet higher standards of accountability. (NACSA, 2006)

Wisconsin State Statute s. 118.40

 Specifies who can authorizea charter school: school boards, the

UW-Milwaukee, the City of Milwaukee and the UW-Parkside;

 Has no cap on the numbers of schools

 Has no cap on the numbers of schools that can be created.

Exemptions and Requirements

Charter schools are exemptfrom most state education laws, but must: --Participate in the WKCE

--Complete the annual School

P f R t (SPR)

Performance Report (SPR)

--Count their students for membership --Employ DPI-licensed teachers


More Requirements

Must be open to all students in the district – cannot discriminate

May not require any student to enroll

May not charge tuition


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Must follow all health and safety requirements of public schools

Autonomy and Accountability

 Charter schools have increased autonomy and flexibility under the law in return for accountability.

 Charter schools are accountable to

th i th i t t th l i


their authorizer to meet the goals in their charters and to produce positive student achievement results

Type of Charter School

If a school board is the authorizer, it determines type of charter school: “Instrumentality”--school board employs

all staff in the charter school, or

“Non-Instrumentality”—a non-profit board rather than the school board employs all staff in the charter school


5-Year Charter Limit

 Under Wisconsin law, contracts/charters may be for any term not exceeding 5 school years.

 At the end of the term, the authorizer

th h t h l


may renew the charter school

charter/contract with the governance board if goals are met or close the school


Charter School Contract

 Contract must include 16 items per state law

–15 items included in §118.40(1m)(b) –The 16th item, the amount paid to the


charter §118.40(3)(b)

 Other provisions agreed to by the parties

Governance: Autonomy Required

 Charter school‘s autonomy and independence required by federal law  Charter school must be run by an

independent governance board not the district administration and school board  Charter school is governed by a contract--the

charter--between the governance board and school board.


Independent Governance Board

 Members of governance board are parents and community representatives

 Governance Board cannot include administrators or school board

b T h h ld t

members. Teachers should not serve on governance board to avoid conflicts of interest

Governance Board Powers

Independent governance board must have control over:

 Operating budget for charter school not just control over grant funds

 Policies for charter school


Lottery & Admissions

 Federal law: Students must be admitted on the basis of a random lottery if more students apply for admission to the charter school than can be accommodated


can be accommodated.


Charter School Grant Program

Charter School Grant Program

Federal Requirements State Application Process All grant applications due

on April 15th


on April 15

Future funding uncertain

 Wisconsin DPI in the 4thyear of a

5-year grant

 Last year of grant funds may be 2013-14

 US Department of Education may grant DPI an extension for 2014-15


Eligible Applicant

 Developer must submit local application to authorizing school board in a timely fashion

 Planning grant applicants must submit a school board resolution approving the a school board resolution approving the concept of the proposed charter school to DPI with the grant application on April 15


New for 2013-14 Planning Grant


 Planning grant must describe a charter school that will open with two grades and a minimum of 40 students;

 Consider jointly authorizing the charter h l ith i hb i di t i t t school with a neighboring district to meet these minimum requirements.


New for 2013-14 Planning Grant


 The governance board of a planning grantee must become a non-stock corporation under Wisconsin law by December 1, 2013

Th b d f l i

 The governance board of a planning grantee must submit copies of the

incorporation papersto DPI by Dec. 1


NEW: Implementation or

Implementation Renewal grant

applicants for 2013-14

 The governance board of an

implementation or implementation renewal grant applicant must be a non-stock corporation under Wisconsin law

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 You must submit a copy of the

incorporation papers to DPI with the grant application on April 15

Funding Cycle of 36 Months

Planning Grant (12-18 months)

Initial Implementation Grant—first

year of school operation (12


Implementation Renewal Grant—

second year of school operation

(6-12 months)


Can’t break the cycle of funding

If you request planningfunds for the 2013-14 school year, you mustopen the charter school in the fall of 2014 or no later than January 2015.

If you donotopen the school by that time


If you do notopen the school by that time, you will break your “continuous contract” and therefore forfeit your right to future federal charter school funds.


Elementary Charter Schools

(K4 through 5thGrade) Student Enrollment Grant Amount Per Year Three Year Total >300 Students $250,000/year $750,000 22 100-300 Students $200,000/year $600,000 <100 Students $150,000/year $450,000

Secondary Charter Schools

(6ththrough 12thGrades) Student Enrollment Grant Amount Per Year Three Year Total >300 Students $300,000/year $900,000 100-300 Students $225,000/year $675,000 <100 Students $175,000/year $525,000 23

Secondary Charter Schools

Poverty or Achievement Gap (6ththrough 12thGrades) Student Enrollment Grant Amount Per year Three Year Total >300 Students $325,000/year $975,000 100-300 Students $250,000/year $750,000 <100 Students $200,000/year $600,000 24


Planning: Budget Phase I

Planning grant funds paid in two installments:

Phase I can include up to 50% of the grant and may be used for staff

d l t d i l l i

development and curriculum planning;

no equipment for the charter school can be purchased in Phase I.


High-Definition Video

Conferencing (HDVC) Equipment

 Exception to no equipment rule: may use Phase I planning grant funds to buy HDVC equipment

 Polycom or Cisco are common vendors

 Check with your CESA IT staff to discuss which options work for you


Planning Budget Phase II

Phase II funds will be released when the

charteris received by DPI and the governance board is operational Phase II funds can be used to buy

dditi l i t (i l di HDVC additional equipment (including HDVC if not purchased in Phase I) and

supplies for the new charter school

Planning and Implementation Grant– Allowable Expenses

 Professional development of teachers or other staff

 Orientation and training of planning team, school board or governance

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board members

 Extended teacher contracts – for the purposes of planning/curriculum work


Allowable expenses (continued)

 Costs of materials for staff development

 Costs for charter school site visits or conferences including mileage, meals and lodging

 Salaries for short or long term


 Salaries for short or long-term

substitutes to cover teachers involved in planning activities

Allowable Expenses (continued)

 Equipment for school including

computers, desks, chairs, tables, etc.)

(only at Phase II of planning grant after charter submitted)

 Curriculum materials, books


 Curriculum materials, books

 Consultants’ fees

Allowable Expenses (continued)

 Attorneys fees limited to $5000

 3% of planning and implementation grants must be used to support one of the approved charter school networks (Wisconsin

Innovative Schools Network, Wisconsin



Green Schools Network, Wisconsin Montessori Association)

Expenses Not Allowed

No operational costs. If an expense continues year after year, it is an operational cost and cannot be funded with the federal charter school grant funds. Examples:

 No salaries and fringe for teachers who

i t t t d t f i i l h l


instruct students, or for a principal, a school coordinator, or accountant or counselors  No purchase or rent of Facility


Expenses Not Allowed

 No remodeling or construction of classrooms even for ADA compliance

 No purchase of vehicles, boats, trailers

 No transportation of students or field trips


 No honorariums for students or governance board members


Grant Awards: Timelines

 Peer review of applications completed in early May

 DPI internal review and approval by state superintendent in June and July

 Press release of grants funded and notifications sent to successful applicants in July and August


Grant Award Period

 To receive a grant award, the applicant must respond to any revisions required by the peer reviewers

 If applicable, a revised contract must be b itt d


 Grant award period runs from August 1 through the following July 31

Future Budget Revisions

Submit signed budget change request form PI- 9600 showing the current and revised budget (see copy in your packets)

The form must be signed by the Governance Board President


Supplement/Not Supplant

 Not applicable 37

Equitable Services

 Not applicable 38

MOE or Matching

 Not applicable 39

Comparability or Excess Costs

 Not applicable



 When reporting WUFAR should agree with Approved Budget.

 You can deviate by 10% in expenditures from the approved budget line item but never go over the total budget.

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 Budget revision maybe needed before final payment can be processed.


Claiming funds

 Use PI 1086

 http://sms.dpi.wi.gov/sms_pi-1086


Grant Applications on DPI Website

Download copies of the planning, implementation, implementation renewal, dissemination and

dissemination renewal applications at the DPI charter schools website at: the DPI charter schools website at: http://sms.dpi.wi.gov/sms_cs_grant_info

DPI Charter Consultants

Margaret McMurray (CESAs 1,7,8, 9,12 and the 2R charter schools)

margaret.mcmurray@dpi.wi.gov (608) 266-5728

Valerie Schmitz (CESAs 2,3,4,5, 6,10,11) valerie.schmitz@dpi.wi.gov


DPI Contacts for Help

 Al Virnig, Senior Accountant, Help with claims: alan.virnig@dpi.wi.gov or (608) 266-2428

 Scott Eagleburger, Education

S i li t H l ith ti l t d Specialist, Help with questions related to grants: scott.eagleburger@dpi.wi.gov or (608) 266-5880


Tony Evers, PhD, State Superintendent


Updated November, 2011: Under the ESEA, charter school grant funds support the initial planning and implementation of new charter schools. Allowable expenses include “other operational costs that cannot be met from State or local sources,” [see ESEA 5204(f) (3)(B)(iv)]. The U.S. Department of Education released new guidance clarifying allowable costs in the spring of 2011: “If the charter school can show that the State or local funds it has received are necessary to meet expenses other than the one at issue, then the charter school has met its burden of showing that the ‘other initial operational costs’ cannot be met from State or local sources and, therefore, is allowable under the CSP grant.”


Acceptable: Extended teacher contract salaries and benefits are allowable as long as the activities the staff is engaged in are related to the planning and initial implementation of the charter school, to curriculum development and/or to the professional development of staff. As an example, the school may dedicate a staff member’s time to create the school’s curriculum and assessment system. Substitute teacher costs are allowable if the substitute is covering the class of a teacher engaged in charter school start-up activities.

If personnel split their time between ongoing operational activities and initial implementation activities, only that portion of the time associated with the initial implementation of the charter school is allowable. The charter school must maintain accurate time and effort records to document the amount of time each employee works on tasks related to the initial implementation of the charter school.

Not Acceptable: Grant funds may not be used to pay teachers’ salaries and benefits for the instruction of children. Grant funds may not be used to pay salaries for nurses, counselors or administrators.


Acceptable: Rental or occupancy costs for the school facility for a reasonable period of time in preparation for the school’s opening

Not acceptable: After a school opens, rent is an ongoing expense that should be met through the school’s state or local funds, not charter school grant funds. Grant funds may not be used to buy facilities.


Acceptable: Minor remodeling or renovations may include the following:

• Minor renovations to install initial wiring for computer labs or school signage;

• The purchase and installation of a stove and/or refrigerator for a school lunch program; or

• The purchase and installation of reasonable playground equipment.

Not acceptable: Grant funds may not be used to buy or lease facilities (see Rent above). Construction expenses, even for ADA compliance, are not acceptable.


Guidelines for Wisconsin Charter School Expenditures November, 2011

Not Acceptable: No roofing, no paving driveways.

No construction or site (property) improvements, including landscaping. No construction of teachers lounge, parent-teacher center, or kitchen.

No installation of public address, security fences, alarm systems, or security cameras. PURCHASED SERVICES

Acceptable: Payment for curriculum development or staff development.

Consultant costs related to setting up accounting systems and human resources policies. Purchase and installation of computers, data systems, networks and telephones.

Payment for public awareness campaign or public relations materials for start-up activities.

Attorney fees for costs associated with the creation of the charter school (e.g. charter review, creation of non-stock corporation and application for tax-exempt status) for a total of $15,000 over the three-year grant period for planning, implementation and implementation renewal grants).

Not acceptable:

No fees for audits required by state.

No dues or fees associated with memberships, organizations or associations. EQUIPMENT

Acceptable: Desks, chairs, tables, bookshelves, and other classroom materials (e.g., audio visual equipment, cameras, etc.).

Computers and other one-time start-up technologies related to the mission of the school.

Not acceptable: Purchase of vans, buses or other vehicles is not acceptable. TRAVEL

Acceptable: Charter school staff or charter school governance board travel only:

• To attend state and national charter school conferences;

• To attend the Mandatory DPI Reporting Session (annually in the fall);

• To attend conferences for a specific curriculum model (Core Knowledge, Environmental, etc.);


• To participate in visitation programs at other charter schools within and outside of Wisconsin for

planning purposes (this cost may include travel insurance).

• Reimbursement of staff travel is allowed for start-up activities only.

Not acceptable: Student transportation costs of any kind are not allowed. Purchase of vans, buses or other vehicles are not acceptable.


Acceptable: Staff development necessary to implement the charter school curriculum. The purchase of initial classroom supplies including textbooks and other resource materials. The purchase of on-line courses that are then owned by the school is allowable if a one-time cost.

Not acceptable: Grant funds may not be used for direct instruction of students. No tuition for graduate or undergraduate credits for teachers to become licensed.





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