Education Watch: Why Does Wisconsin Have So Few Charter Schools?

Sep 16, 2022 | Wisconsin Voices Blog

Quinton Klabon

From the Stevens Point Journal: “[Central Sands Community High School] now houses a digital arts lab, science lab, fiber optics room, mediation room, music room and a large room dedicated to woodworking and other arts students may request… ‘There are a lot more opportunities than the average school with all the community partners, apprenticeships, internships and work experiences,” she said.’”

Additional context from IRG Senior Research Director Quinton Klabon:

  • Independent charter schools are public schools that are not a part of any school district. They sign contracts that allow them to operate with fewer restrictions than traditional schools, but they must meet certain quality standards in return.
  • Central Sands opened this year, the first in central Wisconsin. Last year, there were only 32 independent charter schools in all of Wisconsin.
  • Why do we have so few? The state makes it difficult to start new charters. This is why last legislative session IRG advanced a bill, vetoed by Gov. Evers, to create a statewide authorizer that would make sure all of Wisconsin has charter access. We also need philanthropic or competitive public dollars to help entrepreneurs get buildings, the major prohibitive cost.