Commentary on Taxpayer Funded K-12 Education: Madison’s $597.9M budget $23k/student! vs Tiny One City Charter School

Scott Girard:

For the full 2022-23 school year, an independent charter school like One City receives $9,264 per student from the state that the student’s resident school district would otherwise receive.

The state counts students twice each school year: the third Friday of September and the second Friday of January.

If a student is enrolled at such a charter school for only one of those days, the school would effectively receive $4,632 in aid that the school district would otherwise receive this year, according to an email from state Department of Public Instruction communication specialist Chris Bucher.

For the 51 students from MMSD who have attended One City this year, then, the charter was set to receive a total of $472,464 for the school year.

(No mention of property taxes and other funds that Madison’s well funded K-12 system receives, roughly $23k/student!).

One City statement:

January 10, 2023

Good Afternoon Jim,

Today, the local media reached out to our organization to inquire about another organization’s concerns regarding whether One City Schools will repay the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) the per pupil funds it allocates to our public charter schools.

One City Schools is a careful steward of public dollars. We are 100 percent in compliance with state and federal requirements for spending public dollars. Any claims to the contrary are false.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has a state-approved formula for allocating funds to all public schools – both charter and district schools. We receive per pupil payments annually, from DPI, divided into four payments during the school year.

Additionally, all federal funds we receive are reimbursable grants, meaning, we must spend the money before we can receive payment from DPI. Therefore, we don’t have anything to repay for our federal grants.

We continue to appreciate your support.


Gail Wiseman
VP of External Relations

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