MADISON — Grants to support the opening of 19 new charter schools for the 2013-14 school year are among those announced in a new round of federally funded charter school grants for the state totaling $12.8 million.
In addition to grants for new charter schools, which total $3.9 million for first-year operations, the awards include 19 planning grants, totaling $3.8 million; 21 implementation renewal grants, totaling $4.2 million for charter schools in the second year of operation; three dissemination grants, totaling $375,000, which support program sharing activities; and four dissemination renewal grants, totaling $500,000 that support continued outreach activities by established charter schools.
“Charter schools are exploring different instructional strategies, site-based management techniques, and other innovations to discover what will work best for their students and communities,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “Federal charter grant funds are helping educators create the next generation of quality charter schools that provide our students with innovative, rigorous, and relevant instruction to help them graduate college and career ready.”
Wisconsin has solid experience establishing charter schools and securing federal funding to expand charter schools throughout the state. This year’s grant awards are from a five-year grant the state won in 2009 worth $86 million. During the 2012-13 school year, Wisconsin had 238 charterschools operating throughout the state, serving 43,536 students. Wisconsin ranks in the top 10 states nationwide for the number of charter schools.
Charter schools are public schools that are accountable to their locally elected school boards or their authorizing agency for performance measures included in the charter contract. Charter schools must employ licensed teachers, involve parents, administer statewide tests, and comply with federal regulations that govern all public schools. Under state law, school districts can authorize an unlimited number of charter schools. In addition, the City of Milwaukee, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Area Technical College, and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, have authority to charter schools.