Statewide Voucher Program Applications: 86% Did Not Attend Public Schools

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has released the names of the 35 schools or school systems eligible to participate in the statewide voucher program known officially as the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program (WPCP) as well as numbers of applications received for those schools.

Parents had until April 20 to apply to have their children attend a participating private or religious school next fall.  Applications exceeded the current 1,000 student cap on the program.

In total there were 3,540 eligible student applications submitted to attend 90 private and religious schools, an increase of 4 percent over the prior  year (133 applications). That total includes 927 applications from students already receiving vouchers.

The 35 schools that will be included in the random drawing for the voucher slots had 2,914 eligible students apply. Of  those, only 14.3 percent (417) were from public schools. The remaining 85.7 percent (2,497) did not attend a Wisconsin public school last year.

Of the 2,914 eligible students, 49.3 percent (1,437) attended a Wisconsin private school last year and 926 students (31.8 percent) will continue in the WPCP from the 2014-15 year.

Under current state law, the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program is limited to 1,000 full time equivalent (FTE) students for the 2015-16 school year. State law also requires that the schools participating in the voucher program for 2014-15 receive at least the same number of voucher slots for the 2015-16 school year. Therefore, it is expected that all of the available voucher slots for 2015-16 will be assigned to the schools continuing in the program from the 2014-15 school year. It is possible the number of voucher slots may change as a result of budget deliberations taking place in Madison.  In the budget he submitted to lawmakers, Gov. Scott Walker proposed removing the enrollment limits for the statewide voucher program entirely.

Read More: DPI Release