For Immediate Release
July 15, 2015
Contact: Sean Roberts, Executive Director
Milwaukee, WI (July 15, 2015) – Today the Milwaukee Charter School Advocates (the Advocates) announced its response to the state budget signed by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. The budget includes several changes that improve the conditions under which Wisconsin’s independent charter schools operate as follows:
· Per-pupil funding increase to an estimated $8,087 in 2015-16 and $8,195 in 2016-17.
· Transportation reimbursement made available to “2R” charters, a specific category of charter schools, beginning in the 2015-16 school year.
· Caps lifted on both UW-Parkside’s charter school authorizing ability and its current charter school’s enrollment.
· Expanded authorizer options for schools.
· Mandates to districts on how surplus property must be reported and sold, giving preference to school operators.
“Independent charter schools are closing the achievement gap in Wisconsin but for years these schools were stifled by inadequate laws related to school operations and funding,” said Sean Roberts, Executive Director of the Advocates. “This budget is a step in the right direction and we look forward to continuing our work toward equitable funding for children who attend public charter schools.”
Independent charter schools operate with less funding than other public schools. The approved state budget includes several provisions to help independent charter schools better accomplish their missions through more resources and more flexibility.
“We thank all of our partners, the governor, and members of the Joint Finance Committee in realizing the potential of independent charter schools and creating more opportunities for families to attend schools that meet their needs,” said Ricardo Diaz, Board President of the Advocates.
Independent charter schools are public schools authorized by UW-Milwaukee, UW-Parkside, the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee Public Schools. These schools are given more autonomy in exchange for accountability and operate under contracts that must be approved before being renewed. More than 15,000 students attend independent charter schools in Milwaukee and Racine.
About the Advocates: The mission of the Advocates is to provide strategies and resources to expand and replicate high-performing independent charter schools in Milwaukee, and to overcome or curtail the obstacles that inhibit their growth.