Charter Schools for Wisconsin
Public Charter Schools authorized by the Office of Educational Opportunity (OEO) are accountable to the State of Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin System, OEO, and the public.
The Office of Educational Opportunity (OEO) has a responsibility to the state, students and families, professional educators and taxpayers to hold its schools to a high standard of performance. OEO schools have autonomy to develop and implement innovative models that will improve student outcomes. These autonomies include the learning program, staffing, school-level policy, schedules, budgeting, facilities, and assessments. Based on nationally recognized principles and standards, OEO maintains a balance of autonomy and accountability through the charter contract it enters into (on behalf of the UW System) with a school’s governing board.
On the state level, the Office of Educational Opportunity (OEO) is directly accountable to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI). Just like all public school authorizers in Wisconsin, OEO is legally required to submit financial audits and student outcomes annually to DPI. DPI makes these reports available online and in their annual charter school guidebook.
Any public schools authorized by OEO will be subject to all applicable state and federal student safety laws, teaching licensure regulations, special education laws, nondiscrimination laws, and any contract terms.
On the UW System level, the Office of Educational Opportunity works in direct consultation with, and is reviewed by, the UW System Board of Regents and in consultation with UW System university leaders.
Before a public school is authorized, Office of Educational Opportunity (OEO) schools participate in a rigorous, three phase charter Request for Proposal (RFP) process. This includes a written application, an interview, follow up questions from both OEO and its advisory council, charter contract negotiations, and a pre-opening requirements process.
OEO holds schools accountable for charter contract goals regarding student outcomes and performance. Performance frameworks are used to evaluate a school’s academic, financial, and organizational progress. This includes standardized assessments and school data, independent financial audits, in addition to regular school-level reporting on progress including strategic plans and progress reports, budgets, policies, staff/parent feedback, student enrollment and demographic information. OEO also collects qualitative data during the year through formal and informal school visits, classroom and board meeting observations, and communication with staff, parents, and (where appropriate) students.
We are in regular communication with school leaders to address concerns and provide updates. OEO also utilizes formal notice and may direct corrective actions when schools are not meeting requirements—including revocation of authorization.
Ultimately, OEO evaluates a school’s progress during the term of the charter contract and will recommend to the Board of Regents whether (and for how long) to renew a charter.
The Office of Educational Opportunity (OEO) director serves at the pleasure of the UW System President. OEO works in direct consultation with, and is reviewed by, the UW System Board of Regents and in consultation with UW System university leaders. All financial activities related to OEO are audited by the UW System and reported to the Board of Regents. OEO is also required to submit an annual financial audit to both the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and the state legislature.