Contracts negotiated with prospective charter school operators must meet all requirements of the University's Model Charter School Contract. Charter operators must be prepared to operate in accordance with all applicable state and federal requirements for charter schools. Contracts developed with prospective charter operators follow the approved model contract and contain additional information that provides specific information about the charter school, its mission, organization, curriculum, assessment methodology, and instructional philosophy. The major elements are as follows:
- Article One – Definitions - Key terms of the contract.
- Article Two – Parties, Authority, and Responsibilities.
Article Three – Obligations of the Grantee. This essential section recites the requirements of the law and how the grantee will meet those requirements. This includes such topics as: school leadership, a description of the educational program, methods to attain educational goals, assessment methodology, school governance structure, licensure of professional personnel, health and safety, admissions, financial reporting and audits, discipline, insurance standards, and other topics.
- Article Four – Additional Obligations. This section adds additional considerations that help define the school and its practices including: compliance with applicable law, maintenance of non-profit status, background screening of employees, employment of personnel, Office administrative fees, student activities and rental fees, transportation contracts, University right to inspect facilities, access to records, financial reporting, submission of school calendar, submission of grant applications, and authorization for release of Department of Public Instruction reports..
- Article Five – Joint Responsibilities. This section details the review of the management contracts, methods of financial payments, and performance evaluation.
- Article Six – Notices, Reports, and Inspections. This section facilitates certain aspects of the University’s oversight responsibilities and requirements of the grantee to provide certain notices and reports.
- Article Seven – Miscellaneous Provisions. This section sets forth a code of ethics for charter school board members, requirements for maintenance of public records, and requirements for holding open meetings.
- Article Eight – Provision Facilitating UW-Milwaukee Research. This section sets forth the guidelines that University will use to conduct research into the concept of charter schools and their impact upon educational practice.
- Article Nine – Revocation of Agreement by the University. This section establishes how the contract might be defaulted by the grantee and reasons for revocation by University. This section is critical to the idea that a charter school can be closed for not complying with the law, contract conditions, or failure to meet its educational purpose(s).
- Article Ten – Termination by the Grantee. This is the reverse of Article 9 describing how the grantee may, under specified circumstances, terminate the contract.
- Article Eleven – Technical Provisions. This section details standard contract language for mutual protection of the parties.
In addition to the base contract several appendixes are attached to provide additional information regarding the obligation of the grantee. The UW System Risk Management Manual, Part 4D provides a guide to the acquisition of appropriate insurance coverage, the School Opening Requirements details requirements that must be in met by specific dates before a charter school will be allowed to open, and the Reporting Requirements lists the reports and due dates for information to be supplied to the Office throughout the year. The contract represents the final phase of the chartering process. Once the grantee meets the school opening requirements, the charter school can begin operating.
Various information is required to be provided to the Office by the charter school throughout the year. The Reporting Requirements are provided to charter schools prior to July 1 of each year. Where necessary, reporting templates are sent via e-mail to be complete and returned to the Office by specified dates. These data are compiled into the schools Annual Accountability Report.