There’s been plenty of buzz — much of it positive — surrounding a proposed single sex charter school aimed at improving the academic performance of Madison minority students. Yet a closer look at the financing projections for the Madison Preparatory Academy, starting with the $300,000 the proposal notes is coming from the Madison Community Foundation, raises some questions,
“I have no idea where they got that figure,” says Kathleen Woit, president of the foundation, when asked about the funding. “No, we have not committed to that. We’ll have to get this straightened out.”
The preliminary proposal, presented to the Madison School Board’s Planning and Development Committee Dec. 6, also notes that $1.35 million would be available in six grants of $225,000 through the state Department of Public Instruction’s charter school federal start-up fund. That’s more than twice what is allowable for a school of Madison Prep’s size, and suggests the school would be receiving both implementation and planning grants in two of the four years the school is eligible for start-up money.
“It looks like they are double counting,” says Robert Soldner, director of School Management Services for the Department of Public Instruction. Soldner says that DPI typically helps charters get up and running with several years of funding, starting with a planning grant the first year, an implementation grant the second year and extensions of the implementation grants possible in the next couple of years of operation. Charter schools are not eligible for planning and implementation grants at the same time.
Much more on the proposed Madison Preparatory Academy, here.