Charter Problems in Oshkosh and Appleton

$600,000 of federal funding for charter schools that the Appleton district was counting on and $150,000 of funding for Oshkosh is in jeapardy.

At issue is the degree of autonomy the charters enjoy. In order to receive the monies, the schools must give the federal authorities “proof showing that the charter schools have autonomy in such areas as curriculum, budgeting and governance.” In Wisconsin, charter schools are legally “instrumentalities” of their school districts, an arrangement that may make it impossible to meet the federal requirements.

Barb Herzog of the Oshkosh district explains the predicament:

Barb Herzog, executive director of administration for the Oshkosh school district, said while all three schools already have their own governing board, the district doesn’t have an interest in making charter schools totally independent of the school board because there aren’t funds to do that.

Herzog said if the charter schools were to become totally independent they would have to become responsible for staffing, building, insurance and other costs on their own.

“Even though the charter grants are substantial, it still wouldn’t be enough money to do that,” Herzog said. “They rely on support from the district.”

Never count your chickens until they hatch; never count your federal money till the check is cashed.

Thomas J. Mertz

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Filed under AMPS, Best Practices, Local News, National News, No Child Left Behind, School Finance

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