The University has rigorous requirements for potential schools to meet before they are granted an initial charter. The application must address all federal and state requirements Federal (Appendix A) and State (Appendix B) Laws and Regulations and those established by the University Application Requirements. An Application can only be submitted after the applicant’s Prospectus has been approved by the Office. To receive consideration, applications must be received by the Office no later than the close of business (4:00 p.m.) on the last business day of August. Applications received after the specified due date and time will not be considered and will be returned to the applicant. The guidelines discussed below are designed to assist charter school developers with general requirements that will be used by the Office in considering charter applications. Applicants are encouraged to meet with the representatives of the Office prior to and during the development of the Application.
- The Application must address all elements of the Application Outline Application Requirements. These include Federal and State requirements Federal (Appendix A) and State (Appendix B) Laws and Regulations.
- Schools granted charters must be physically located in the City and serve only students residing in the City, WI Stat. 118.40(2r)(c).
- Schools granted charters must be non-sectarian in their programs, admission policies, employment practices and all other operations, WI Stat. 118.40(4)(a)2.
- Schools granted charters may not charge tuition, WI Stat. 118.40(4)(b)1.
- Schools granted charters may not discriminate in admission or deny participation in any program or activity on the basis of a person's sex, race, religion, national origin, ancestry, pregnancy, marital or parental status, sexual orientation or physical, mental, emotional or learning disability, WI Stat. 118.40(4)(b)2.
- Schools that are over subscribed must establish a selection lottery to ensure equal access to all students.
- Applicants seeking charters for schools serving less than 50 students will be discouraged due to fiscal challenges of very small enrollment programs.
- The University will charge a cost recovery fee for the costs of operating the Office. An estimate of the fee will be provided to applicants prior to a charter contract being approved. Applicants should develop their budget based on 3% of the per student state aid provided to charter schools. This fee is payable on a quarterly basis.
- Application deadlines will be enforced. Late applications will be returned to the applicant.
- The Office reserves the right to meet with the developers of the charter proposal and board of directors as part of the review process.
- Applicants are encouraged to have legal counsel as part of their planning process and have legal counsel review the application prior to submission. The application document will be important during the development of the charter contract.
- Both a paper version and an electronic version of the application are required. The electronic version should be submitted in Microsoft Word, Excel or PDF formats.
- Applications must be submitted in a three-ring binder for the final submission. Ten (10) copies of the final application are required.
- Charter shall be issued for a period of up to but not to exceed five (5) years, WI Stat. 118.40(2r)(b)
- The charter contract must be approved by the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents to achieve charter status.
It is essential that charter school operators understand their requirement for providing special education services for students with disabilities. The provision of special education will have a major impact on financial, personnel, and facility decisions. An independent public charter schools must accept all students who apply regardless of disability. The school must either provide required services on site or pay for those services to be provided by another entity. As part of this requirement, the school must provide an individualized education plan (IEP) and provide the necessary instruction by state licensed personnel. Questions regarding special education issues that charter applicants should consider when applying for a charter are shown at Special Education Issues.
The Office, through the Application Review Committee, composed of educators and community members, reviews charter school applications. Guidelines for reviewers are shown at Application Reviewers Guide. Based on the overall feasibility of the proposal, this review process will identify which applications: (1) will be accepted for further consideration, (2) may be resubmitted with modifications for further consideration, or (3) are denied.
Approval of an application is not a guarantee that the applicant will be awarded a charter. Before an application is finally approved, a contract spelling out all aspects of the charter school operation must be agreed upon. While it must be realized that there is some element of subjective judgment in evaluating proposals, a proposal can be evaluated on its completeness, responsiveness to criteria, and the integration of innovative ideas into a realistic operation to educate students. Especially important in the chartering process is the effective use of research literature, the design and focus of the program, and how the proposal integrates organizational structure, budget, and program into an operational whole.
Applicants will be notified as to the status of their proposal by the last business day of September. Applicants whose proposals receive Superior or Satisfactory ratings will be notified of the applications approval and receive instructions for initiation the development of the charter contract. Applicants whose proposals require additional work will be notified of the deficiencies and given an opportunity to respond within a specified time period.