Badger Rock Middle School

Badger Rock Middle School was where organizers planned the independent charter school Milestone Democratic School on nights and weekends. The school was approved by the UW Office of Educational Opportunity on Feb. 15.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction is providing $7 million in federal money for 11 new or expanding charter schools, including a proposed school in Madison.

The charter school grants are for the 2019-2020 school year. The DPI received 21 applications totaling almost $14 million.

“Charter schools are one way for educators to innovate and engage the wide range of students in our communities,” state Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor said in a statement.

“As we determined these awards, we prioritized expanding opportunities to students who face challenges,” Stanford Taylor said. “We want all students, no matter who they are or where they live, to have access to the resources and educational rigor they need to succeed.”

The Milestone Democratic School, a proposed independent charter school that organizers want to open in Madison by 2020, received an $800,000 planning and implementation grant. In February, the University of Wisconsin System’s Office of Educational Opportunity, which is an independent charter authorizer, granted initial approval to the school.

Planning and implementation grants of about $800,000 also were awarded to the Ripon Area School District, the Mondovi School District and the Rice Lake Area School District.

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Two implementation grants were awarded, with Milwaukee Public Schools getting a $750,625 grant and Lakeland Union High School getting a $258,050 grant.

Five expansion grants were awarded, with Milwaukee Public Schools and UW-Milwaukee each getting $750,000, the Sheboygan Area School District getting $650,000, the Mauston School District getting $550,000 and Green Bay Area Public Schools getting $450,000.

This is the second round of funding for charter schools from a five-year, $95 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The planning and implementation grants are for schools opening in fall 2020, the implementation grants for schools that recently opened or will open in 2019, and the expansion grants for schools already in place.

Any school district can authorize a charter school, while independent charter schools, such as the Milestone Democratic School, may be authorized by a public agency such as the Office of Educational Opportunity.

Applications for the third round of competitive charter school grants for the 2020-21 school year will start in late fall or early winter.

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