La Casa de Esperanza meets challenge
Raises $2.5M as part of challenge grant for expanding charter school

By Lauren Anderson - Freeman Staff

May 6, 2016

WAUKESHA — La Casa de Esperanza is halfway to its fundraising goal for the planned expansion of its charter school.

La Casa Board Chair Marcos Ramos announced Thursday that the organization has made a significant stride forward after raising $2.5 million as part of a challenge grant.

In February, a $250,000 donor pledged to provide an additional $250,000 if the organization raised $2.5 million by May 5. With an aggressive timeline, La Casa met the goal and, thanks to an additional $100,000 donation, has $2.9 million raised.

The funding will benefit the planned building expansion that would accommodate the charter school’s elementary students.

“It is an incredible honor and a big responsibility,” La Casa President and CEO Anselmo Villarreal said, “because it was such a short period of time to raise a significant amount of money. We never take the support for granted. We are working very hard and we know the challenge we have is huge. But it is a great challenge.”

La Casa is in the process of securing city approval for a three-story expansion at its current location as the first piece in a three-phase plan to grow its new school over the next several years.

The school currently offers 4K and 5K, and plans to continue expanding its classes, with the ultimate goal of serving students up to eighth grade.

The addition — which would extend north along Caroline Street — would add 11,504 square feet to the existing building, bringing its total area up to 43,452 square feet. Parking would be added behind the building.

The plan is to build 12 additional classrooms during the multiphase expansion, with construction planned to begin this fall and be completed in time for the 2017-18 school year.

With the challenge grant now met, La Casa will continue fundraising toward a total campaign goal of $6 million over the next two years.

Next year, the school plans to increase enrollment by 66 students, with the addition of three fouryear- old kindergarten classes.

The school opened its doors in August 2015 to 88 students with the goal of serving the city’s lowincome learners. At a Cinco de Mayo celebration Thursday, Villarreal reiterated his support for Waukesha’s public and private schools. But, he said, the numbers don’t lie when it comes to the community’s economically- disadvantaged youth and more support for those students is needed.

La Casa Charter School offers additional student support, including beforeand after-school care and summer programming to keep students learning in the off-school months.

Email: landerson@conleynet.com