Upon the child's request and with the approval of the child's parent or guardian, any child who is 17 years of age or over shall be excused by the school board from regular school attendance if the child began a program leading to a high school equivalency diploma in a juvenile correctional facility, as defined in s. 938.02 (10p)
, a secured residential care center for children and youth, as defined in s. 938.02 (15g)
, a juvenile detention facility, as defined in s. 938.02 (10r)
, or a juvenile portion of a county jail, and the child and his or her parent or guardian agree under subd. 2.
that the child will continue to participate in such a program. For purposes of this subdivision, a child is considered to have begun a program leading to a high school equivalency diploma if the child has received a passing score on a minimum of one of the 5 content area tests given under the general educational development test or has demonstrated under a course of study meeting the standards established under s. 115.29 (4)
for the granting of a declaration of equivalency to high school graduation a level of proficiency in a minimum of one of the 5 content areas specified in s. 118.33 (1) (a) 1.
that is equivalent to the level of proficiency that he or she would have attained if he or she had satisfied the requirements under s. 118.33 (1) (a) 1.
Prior to the admission of a child under subd. 1.
to a program leading to a high school equivalency diploma, the child, his or her parent or guardian, the school board and a representative of the agency providing the program shall enter into a written agreement. The agreement shall specify that the child is excused from regular school attendance while he or she is enrolled in the program and making progress toward completion of the program, or successfully completes the program. If the agency providing the program determines that the child is not making progress toward completion of the program, the agency shall notify the child and his or her parent or guardian that the agreement may be suspended within 30 days. If the agency suspends the agreement, the agency shall notify the child, his or her parent or guardian and the school board.
If the program that the child wishes to attend is provided by a technical college district, the technical college district board shall admit the child.
A child attending a program under this paragraph shall not be included in membership, as defined in s. 121.004 (5)
The state superintendent shall grant a high school equivalency diploma to a child under this paragraph who completes the general educational development test with a passing score, as determined by the state superintendent, and completes the additional requirements determined by the state superintendent under s. 115.29 (4)
Any child's parent or guardian, or the child if the parent or guardian is notified, may request the school board, in writing, to provide the child with program or curriculum modifications, including but not limited to:
Modifications within the child's current academic program.
Enrollment in any alternative public school or program located in the school district in which the child resides.
Enrollment in any nonsectarian private school or program, or tribal school, located in the school district in which the child resides, which complies with the requirements of 42 USC 2000d
. Enrollment of a child under this subdivision shall be pursuant to a contractual agreement under s. 121.78 (5)
that provides for the payment of the child's tuition by the school district.
Homebound study, including nonsectarian correspondence courses or other courses of study approved by the school board or nonsectarian tutoring provided by the school in which the child is enrolled.
Enrollment in any public educational program located outside the school district in which the child resides. Enrollment of a child under this subdivision may be pursuant to a contractual agreement between school districts.
The school board shall render its decision, in writing, within 90 days of a request under par. (d)
, except that if the request relates to a child who has been evaluated by an individualized education program team under s. 115.782
and has not been recommended for special education, the school board shall render its decision within 30 days of the request. If the school board denies the request, the school board shall give its reasons for the denial.
Any decision made by a school board or a designee of the school board in response to a request for program or curriculum modifications under par. (d)
shall be reviewed by the school board upon request of the child's parent or guardian. The school board shall render its determination upon review in writing, if the child's parent or guardian so requests.
At the beginning of each school term, the school board shall notify the pupils enrolled in the school district and their parents or guardians of the substance of pars. (d)
does not apply to a person having under control a child who is enrolled in a virtual charter school.
If the determination is made under sub. (1) (b)
for a child to attend a technical college, the district board governing the technical college shall establish appropriate vocational and technical courses in accordance with s. 118.33 (3m)
and the school board shall pay the technical college district board an amount calculated as follows:
Divide the number of credit hours of instruction scheduled by the technical college district for the pupil by 30.
Multiply the quotient under subd. 1.
by the statewide average instructional cost for general education programs in the technical college system in the previous school year, as determined by the technical college system board.
Multiply the quotient under subd. 1.
by any additional costs associated with direct student support services, as determined jointly by the state superintendent and the state director of the technical college system.
Pupils attending a technical college under this subsection may receive general education subjects at the technical college. Payments by the school district under par. (a)
shall be deemed costs of operation and maintenance.
Transportation, or board and lodging under s. 121.57 (1) (a)
, for pupils attending a technical college under this subsection shall be provided by the school district, and state aids shall be paid therefor, on the same basis as is transportation for pupils attending high school.
This section does not apply to:
Any child who is excused by the school board because the child is temporarily not in proper physical or mental condition to attend a school program but who can be expected to return to a school program upon termination or abatement of the illness or condition. The school attendance officer may request the parent or guardian of the child to obtain a written statement from a licensed physician, dentist, chiropractor, optometrist, psychologist, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner, as defined in s. 255.06 (1) (d)
, or certified advanced practice nurse prescriber or Christian Science practitioner living and residing in this state, who is listed in the Christian Science Journal, as sufficient proof of the physical or mental condition of the child. An excuse under this paragraph shall be in writing and shall state the time period for which it is valid, not to exceed 30 days.
Any child excused by the school board in accordance with the school board's written attendance policy under s. 118.16 (4)
and with the written approval of the child's parent or guardian. The child's truancy, discipline or school achievement problems or disabilities as described in s. 115.76 (5)
may not be used as the reason for an excuse under this paragraph. The excuse shall be in writing and shall state the time period for which it is effective, not to extend beyond the end of the current school year.
Any child excused in writing by his or her parent or guardian before the absence. The school board shall require a child excused under this paragraph to complete any course work missed during the absence. A child may not be excused for more than 10 days in a school year under this paragraph.
Any child excused in writing by his or her parent or guardian and by the principal of the school that the child attends, or by the administrator of the home-based private educational program in which the child is enrolled, for the purpose of serving as an election official under s. 7.30 (2) (am)
. Except as provided in s. 7.30 (2) (am)
, a principal or administrator may not excuse a child under this paragraph unless the child has at least a 3.0 grade point average or the equivalent. The principal or administrator shall allow the child to take examinations and complete course work missed during the child's absences under this paragraph. The principal or administrator shall promptly notify the municipal clerk or the board of election commissioners of the municipality that appointed the child as an election official if the child ceases to be enrolled in school or in a home-based private educational program or if the child no longer has at least a 3.0 grade point average or the equivalent.
Instruction in a home-based private educational program that meets all of the criteria under s. 118.165 (1)
may be substituted for attendance at a public or private school.
No school board, board of control of a cooperative educational service agency or county children with disabilities education board, or person employed by a school board, cooperative educational service agency or county children with disabilities education board, may in any manner compel a pregnant girl to withdraw from her educational program.
Except as provided under par. (b)
or if a person has been found guilty of a misdemeanor under s. 948.45
, whoever violates this section may be penalized as follows, if evidence has been provided by the school attendance officer that the activities under s. 118.16 (5)
have been completed or were not required to be completed as provided in s. 118.16 (5m)
For the first offense, by a fine of not more than $500 or imprisonment for not more than 30 days or both.
For a 2nd or subsequent offense, by a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment for not more than 90 days or both.
The court may require a person who is subject to subd. 1.
to perform community service work for a public agency or a nonprofit charitable organization in lieu of the penalties specified under subd. 1.
Any organization or agency to which a defendant is assigned pursuant to an order under this subdivision acting in good faith has immunity from any civil liability in excess of $25,000 for any act or omission by or impacting on the defendant.
The court may order any person who violates this section to participate in counseling at the person's own expense or to attend school with his or her child, or both.
In a prosecution under par. (a)
, if the defendant proves that he or she is unable to comply with the law because of the disobedience of the child, the action shall be dismissed and the child shall be referred to the court assigned to exercise jurisdiction under chs. 48
History: 1971 c. 40
; 1973 c. 89
; 1975 c. 39
; 1979 c. 221
; 1981 c. 20
; 1983 a. 512
; 1985 a. 29
; 1987 a. 36
; 1989 a. 31
; 1991 a. 39
; 1993 a. 223
; 1995 a. 27
, 9145 (1)
; 1995 a. 77
; 1997 a. 27
; 2001 a. 109
; 2005 a. 344
; 2007 a. 222
; 2009 a. 41
; 2011 a. 161
; 2021 a. 34
See also ch. TCS 9
, Wis. adm. code.
Compelling Amish parents to send their children to high school infringed upon their religious liberties. State v. Yoder, 49 Wis. 2d 430
, 182 N.W.2d 539
Compulsory school attendance laws are not safety statutes. Riemer v. Crayton, 57 Wis. 2d 755
Under the facts of this case, parents' refusal, on claimed religious grounds, to send children to school was a personal, philosophical choice by parents, rather than a protected religious expression. State v. Kasuboski, 87 Wis. 2d 407
, 275 N.W.2d 101
(Ct. App. 1978).
This section permits VTAE [now technical college] instructors to teach a limited number of courses to public school students, under certain circumstances, without Department of Public Instruction certification. Green Bay Education Ass'n v. DPI, 154 Wis. 2d 655
, 453 N.W.2d 915
(Ct. App. 1990).
The trial court erred in ruling that this section requires a conviction under sub. (5) (a) before sub. (5) (b) is triggered. The disobedience exception in sub. (5) (b) 2. was an affirmative defense to the charge here and should have been presented to the fact-finder during the trial for resolution. State v. McGee, 2005 WI App 97
, 281 Wis. 2d 756
, 698 N.W.2d 850
The Amish and compulsory school attendance. 1971 WLR 832.
Children at risk of not graduating from high school. 118.153(1)(a)
“Children at risk" means pupils in grades 5 to 12 who are at risk of not graduating from high school because they are dropouts or are 2 or more of the following:
One or more years behind their age group in the number of high school credits attained.
Two or more years behind their age group in basic skill levels.
“Dropout" means a child who ceased to attend school, does not attend a public, private, or tribal school, technical college, or home-based private educational program on a full-time basis, has not graduated from high school, and does not have an acceptable excuse under s. 118.15 (1) (b)
Every school board shall identify the children at risk who are enrolled in the school district and annually by August 15 develop a plan describing how the school board will meet their needs.
If in the previous school year a school district had 30 or more dropouts or a dropout rate exceeding 5 percent of its total high school enrollment, the school board may apply to the state superintendent for aid under this section.
Every school board that applies for aid under sub. (2) (b)
shall make available to the children at risk enrolled in the school district a program for children at risk.
Upon request of a pupil who is a child at risk or the pupil's parent or guardian, a school board described under subd. 1.
shall enroll the pupil in the program for children at risk. If the school board makes available more than one program for children at risk, the school board shall enroll the pupil in the program selected by the pupil's parent or guardian if the pupil meets the prerequisites for that program. If there is no space in that program for the pupil, the school board of the school district operating under ch. 119
shall place the pupil's name on a waiting list for that program and offer the pupil another program for children at risk until space in the requested program becomes available.
A program for children at risk shall be designed to allow the pupils enrolled to meet high school graduation requirements under s. 118.33
. The school board of the school district operating under ch. 119
shall ensure that there are at least 30 pupils and no more than 250 pupils in each program and that a separate administrator or teacher is in charge of each program.
Each school board shall identify appropriate private, nonprofit, nonsectarian agencies located in the school district or within 5 miles of the boundaries of the school district to meet the requirements under pars. (a)
for the children at risk enrolled in the school district.
The school board may contract with the agencies identified under subd. 1.
for the children at risk enrolled in the school district if the school board determines that the agencies can adequately serve such children.
The school board shall pay each contracting agency, for each full-time equivalent pupil served by the agency, an amount equal to at least 80 percent of the average per pupil cost for the school district.
Annually in August, a school board that applied for aid under this section in the previous school year shall submit a report to the state superintendent. The report shall include only information about the pupils enrolled in a program for children at risk in the previous school year that is necessary for the state superintendent to determine the number of pupils who achieved each of the objectives under par. (c)
Upon receipt of a school board's annual report under par. (a)
the state superintendent shall pay to the school district from the appropriation under s. 20.255 (2) (bc)
, for each pupil enrolled in a program for children at risk who achieved at least 3 of the objectives under par. (c)
in the previous school year, additional state aid in an amount equal to 10 percent of the school district's average per pupil aids provided under s. 20.835 (7) (a)
, 1991 stats., and s. 20.255 (2) (ac)
in the previous school year.
The pupil, if a high school senior, received a high school diploma.
The pupil earned at least 4.5 academic credits or a prorated number of credits if the pupil was enrolled in the program for less than the entire school year.
The pupil has demonstrated, on standardized tests or other appropriate measures, a gain in reading and mathematics commensurate with the duration of his or her enrollment in the program.
If the appropriation under s. 20.255 (2) (bc)
in any fiscal year is insufficient to pay the full amount of aid under par. (b)
, state aid payments shall be prorated among the school districts entitled to such aid.
“Alternative school" means a public school that has at least 30 pupils and no more than 250 pupils, has a separate administrator or teacher in charge of the school and offers a nontraditional curriculum.
“School within a school" means a school that has at least 30 pupils and no more than 250 pupils, has a separate administrator or teacher in charge of the school and is housed in a space specifically dedicated to it in a public school.
Subject to sub. (3) (c) 3.
, a school board receiving funds under this section shall provide a specific sum to each program for children at risk in which pupils enrolled in the school district are enrolled based on the ability of the program to meet the objectives under sub. (4) (c)