Funded: Charters

A Detailed Look at Each State's Charter School Funding Policies

Below, see summaries of the state’s education funding policy in each issue area. Click the Expand icon next to any summary to see more detail, if available, about that state’s policy regarding that issue area. Click the Citation icon
next to any summary to see the sources of the information regarding that issue area.
Wisconsin
Funding Basics
Authorizer

Charter funding policies and reporting practices within each state may vary depending on the entity that authorized the charter school. Charter schools in Wisconsin may be authorized by local school districts, as well as other entities, such as institutions of higher education and eligible cities and counties.

References:
“Charter Schools: What organizations may authorize charter schools, and is there a statewide authorizing body?” Education Commission of the States, 50-State Comparison, January 2018. 
Funding Formula

Funding for some charter schools in Wisconsin is calculated based on a formula distinct from the one used to calculate funding for traditional public schools, while funding for other charter schools is not subject to a specific calculation.

Charter schools authorized by entities other than local school districts, such as institutions of higher education and eligible cities and counties, receive a per student amount in state law. For the 2018-19 school year, the amount is $8,619. Meanwhile, charter schools authorized by local school districts are largely funded through their local school district in the same way that traditional public schools are. For charter students who reside outside of the district that authorized the charter school, a per student amount is withheld from the student’s resident district’s state funding and paid to the authorizing district.

The state covers the cost of funding charter schools authorized by entities other than local school districts, by proportionally reducing state aid payments for all school districts or by having the districts where charter students reside bear the cost.

References:
pers. comm. Erin Fath, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, email, December 21, 2018
pers. comm. Erin Fath, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, email, January 16, 2019
Wis. Stat. Ann. § 118.40 (Lexis 2019)
Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau, Charter Schools, Informational Paper 27, January 2017,
Funding Distribution
Funding Distribution

Some charter schools in Wisconsin receive funding directly from the state, while others receive funding through local school districts.

Charter schools authorized by entities other than local school districts, such as institutions of higher education and eligible cities and counties, are funded directly by the state. Charter schools authorized by local school districts receive funding from their students’ district(s) of residence.

Though charter schools authorized by entities other than local school districts are funded directly by the state, the state covers the cost by proportionally reducing state aid payments for all school districts or by having the districts where charter students reside bear the cost.

References:
pers. comm. Erin Fath, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, email, December 21, 2018.
Wis. Stat. Ann. § 118.40 (Lexis 2019)
Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau, Charter Schools, Informational Paper 27, January 2017
Withholdings

State law in Wisconsin does not specify that a share of charter funding is withheld.

References:
pers. comm. Erin Fath, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, email, December 21, 2018.
Wis. Stat. Ann. § 118.40 (Lexis 2019) 
Local Taxes

Some charter schools in Wisconsin receive a share of local tax revenue.

Charter schools authorized by local school districts are funded through their local school district in the same way that traditional public schools are and receive a share of local tax revenue. Charter schools authorized by other entities, such as institutions of higher education and eligible cities and counties, do not.

References:
pers. comm. Erin Fath, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, email, December 21, 2018.
Wis. Stat. Ann. § 118.40 (Lexis 2019); Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau, Charter Schools, Informational Paper 27, January 2017,
Data and Reporting
Legal Status

Some charter schools in Wisconsin constitute their own local education agencies, while others are a part of local education agencies.

Charter schools authorized by entities other than local school districts, such as institutions of higher education and eligible cities and counties, constitute their own local education agencies, while charter schools that are authorized by a local school district are a part of local education agencies.

References:
pers. comm. Erin Fath, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, December 21, 2018. 
Wis. Stat. Ann. § 118.40 (Lexis 2019)
Student Count

Some charter school students in Wisconsin are counted as students of the charter they attend for state reporting purposes, while other charter school students are counted as students of the school district where the charter school is located.

Students of charter schools authorized by entities other than local school districts, such as institutions of higher education and eligible cities and counties, are counted as students of the charter they attend. Meanwhile, students of charter schools that are authorized by a local school district are counted as students of the authorizing district.

References:
pers. comm. Erin Fath, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, December 21, 2018
Funding

State funding for some charter schools in Wisconsin is reported separately while for other charter schools, state funding is reported as part of state funding for the school district where the charter school is located.

State funding for charter schools authorized by entities other than local school districts, such as institutions of higher education and eligible cities and counties, is reported separately from state funding for any district. Meanwhile, funding for charter schools that are authorized by a local school district are counted as funding for the authorizing district.

References:
pers. comm. Erin Fath, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, December 21, 2018.
Expenditures

For some charter schools in Wisconsin, expenditures are reported separately while for other charter schools, expenditures are reported as part of expenditures of the school district where the charter school is located.

For charter schools authorized by entities other than local school districts, such as institutions of higher education and eligible cities and counties, charter expenditures are reported separately from expenditures of any school district. For charter schools authorized by a local school district, charter expenditures are counted as expenditures of the authorizing district.

References:
pers. comm. Erin Fath, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, December 21, 2018.