After receiving an $800,000, five-year charter school planning grant, Ripon Area School District has the funds needed to create a play-based charter school at Barlow Park Elementary School.

   However, now it’s up to the Ripon Area School Board to decide Monday whether to accept the grant and move forward with creating the play-based charter school.

   The grant was one of 11 awarded by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction out of 21 applications sent in, requesting a total of $13.9 million.

   The five-year grant will fund one year of planning and four years of implementation of the proposed play-based charter school, with funds going toward curriculum development, training, school-site visits and curriculum materials.

   Superintendent Mary Whitrock noted the funds may cover a half-time coordinator position as well.

   She noted the “[School] Board will take action to approve the grant award at the [Monday] June 17 School Board meeting.”

   But come Monday night, School Board members could choose to deny the grant, depending on whether they feel as though they received enough information regarding the play-based charter school.

   During the Feb. 7 School Board meeting, John Sperger and then-School Board member David Scott noted they wouldn’t automatically accept the grant.

Read the full story, including why Sperger and Scott said they wouldn't necessarily agree to the grant, in the June 13, 2019 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.