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Charter School Development

Alliance High SchoolBy statute, the Wisconsin Charter School Law authorizes the Milwaukee Board of School Directors to establish, by contract, Milwaukee Public Schools charter schools.  A charter school is a public school that, by statute, is exempt from most provisions of Wisconsin Statute, Chapters 115 to 121, except as otherwise explicitly provided.

A charter school community agrees that, in return for more autonomy from state and local control, they will accept and be held to higher standards of accountability.

The Board, on its own initiative, may seek and consider proposals from persons who would like to operate an MPS charter school.  The Board may also convert an existing MPS school to an MPS charter school following submission by MPS teachers of a written petition requesting that the Board do so.

To obtain more information about charter schools, visit the Contracted School Services page.

To submit a proposal or a petition electronically, send us an email.

Proposals and petitions may also be mailed to the Office of Board Governance, 5225 W. Vliet Street, Milwaukee, WI, 53208. 

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  What is a charter school petition?

A charter school petition is a formal request by current MPS teachers to establish an existing MPS school as a charter school.  All charter school petitions must be reviewed by the MPS Charter School Review Panel.  Within 30 days of receiving a petition, the the Board holds a public hearing to consider the level of support for the school and the fiscal impact of the school on the district.  The Board may also consider the feedback of the Charter School Review Panel.  Within 30 days of this hearing, the Board will either grant or deny the petition.

Specific details about petition requirements can be found in the district's policy on charter schools.

  What is a charter school proposal?

A charter school proposal is a formal request submitted by interested parties such as parents, educators, community groups, non-profit organizations, individuals, or combinations of these entities.  All charter school proposals must be reviewed by the MPS Charter School Review Panel.

Specific details about proposal requirements can be found in the district's policy on charter schools.

  When must petitions or proposals be filed?

Petitions and proposals may be submitted any time during the year; however, petitions and proposals filed after 4:30 p.m. on January 5 may not be considered for start-up in that same year.

For example, for a charter school to start in September of 2025, the petition or proposal must be filed by 4:30 p.m. on January 5, 2024.

If January 5 is a holiday or other non-working day, the petition or proposal must be submitted prior to January 5.

  If a proposal or petition is granted by the Board, what are the next steps?

Once a charter proprosal or petition is granted by the Board, a designee of the Superintendent, in consultation with the Office of the City Attorney, the Office of Board Governance, and representatives of the charter school, will meet to negotiate and draft a contract.   The contract will designate the school as either an instrumentality of MPS or as a non- instrumentality.

Once negotiations are complete, the contract is brought to the Board for final approval and execution.

  What is the function of the Charter Review Panel?

The Charter Review Panel is an Advisory Committee to the Board to establish, review, evaluate and make recommendations to the Board with regard to MPS charter school petitions and proposals.  The Panel may invite those submitting a petition or proposal to make a presentation to the Panel.  The decision of the Panel is reached by collaboration and consensus.

Panel members are appointed by the Board President and include two Superintendent designees.  The Office of Board Governance provides staff assistance to the Panel, as required.

  What topics are included in a charter school contract?

All MPS charter school contracts must include the 15 items that make up the Model Contract. These items are described in MPS Administrative Policy 9.12(7), Charter Schools.

The contract also includes any other provisions that the parties deem nescessary, if any.

  Where can I find more information about charter schools?


Phone: 414-475-8284
Fax: 414-475-8071

Board Clerk / Chief Officer, Office of Board Governance
Jacqueline M. Mann, Ph.D.

Assistant Board Clerk
Jill Kawala


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