Education recommendations > Implement best practice governance for charter schools
Implement best practice governance for charter schools
Establish a new authority to disburse federal and state funds to independent charter and private schools in the MPCP to best serve all students.
Resources, public and private, are not being optimized in the interests of the students. With half the students in MPS and half outside of it -- and students matriculating in between each of these options – Milwaukee (and the state of Wisconsin) would benefit from a structure that best serves all students.
This reality is complicated by the tug of war over resources that still flow based on the K-12 system of 25 years ago. This system has stymied a consistent and overarching approach to the reality of how education is delivered in 2022. A vibrant example of this was seen during the pandemic in serving the needs of all students. While well-intentioned, the City Health Department’s approach to health care guidelines for schools assumed all schools operated like those in MPS. In practice, those not in MPS had to organize on their own to make their case to reopen for in-person learning.
In another example, MPS authorizes charter schools, grants access to facilities, and provides some basic school services. However, in practice it draws additional resources from the schools it charters to support its overall operations. The 2018 Wisconsin Policy Forum report, “A Teachable Moment” concluded that, “when (MPS) administrative fees and supplemental payments are considered, MPS skimmed and saw an average positive gain of $2,243 per student, which it used to support district-wide costs.” The differences in perspective permeate decisions around governance.
Separate Local Education Agency needed
In Milwaukee, MPS operates as the local education agency (LEA) for the city. This includes all independent charter and private schools in MPCP. Creating a separate LEA for charter and choice schools would ensure that these schools receive 100% of federal and state “pass-through” funds while also freeing schools of third-party vendor markups and the rent-seeking that occurs.
New providers and replication of the highest-performing schools in the city have lagged for many reasons, including per-pupil funding and access to school facilities. These reforms could change the landscape and have immediate impact