We are pleased about the Joint Finance Committee’s approval of an increase of $150 per year for the next two years for 2r and MPS non-instrumentality charter schools. This will lead to $8075 in per-pupil allocations for the 2014/15 school year. This is more than the amount the Governor originally included and it is a positive step forward. The budget still needs to be approved by the legislature in the weeks ahead.
We are also pleased about the approval in the budget for more flexible teacher licensing, which addresses a huge talent pipeline issue for our schools, and for the expanded authority of UWM to charter 2r schools in Milwaukee County.
The possibility of moving closer to funding equity for charters, creating more autonomy and allowing broader reach for independent charter schools is all good news. However, even with the proposed per-pupil increase, Wisconsin will still have one of the largest gaps in funding between traditional public schools and independent public charter schools, and we know our schools will still face challenges.
There is much more to be done. Whether it’s a prohibitive rule, encroachment on autonomy, or hurdles in finding facilities, we will continue to work to remove the roadblocks and seek new opportunities so that successful independent charters can reach more students and have a greater impact on education in Milwaukee.
We are honored and humbled by that task. As a next step, we will continue to develop school profiles so that we can identify needs of our schools, help find resources and craft a renewed advocacy agenda for the independent charter school community.