Lisa and Jack McCloskey of Watertown are ecstatic that their 14-year-old daughter, Grace, is enrolled in a public, independent charter school that is allowing her to flourish. Grace has Down syndrome and speech apraxia, and was traumatized by COVID restrictions in her previous school that left her isolated and confused. They say Lake Country Classical Academy in Oconomowoc was a “godsend.”
Unfortunately, systemic funding inequities between types of schools remain. While students with special needs are eligible for state categorical aids and federal aid while attending either an independent charter or traditional public school, local and state funding for traditional public schools exceeds that of independent charter schools by thousands of dollars per student.
These disparities add up, making it difficult for choice and charter schools to provide the same level of resources as traditional public schools. The McCloskeys have a message for Wisconsin lawmakers: “Make it about the children.”
For more on the educational opportunities made possible by charter schools like Lake Country Classical Academy, read more of Michael Jahr’s interview with the McCloskeys. For more from parents and students across the state embracing the freedom to choose the best education, see our entire collection of Choice Stories.