School Choice Wisconsin

A state organization staffed to advance legislative as
well as regulatory agenda
Advocates exclusively for private and religious
school choice
Frequently consult with schools and sponsoring
bodies to identify the legislative agenda and fight
off bureaucratic assaults
Act as the ‘help desk’ for schools, complete
pinpointed research to drive legislative agenda
About us
Six staff members
Privately funded
Also staff the Alliance for Choices in Education and
the Fund for Parent Choice
School Choice Wisconsin
To give parents more control over their child's
education, and to allow parents to pursue the
most appropriate learning environments for
their children.
Religious instruction
Stronger discipline and school culture
Better foundational skills including reading,
writing, mathematics, and science
Specific skills
Goal of School Choice
Competition amongst schools for students
Schools that fail to attract students close
Superior schools grow and replicate
Catalyst for schools to create innovative
More responsive to parental demands
Cost effectiveness for taxpayers
Benefits of School Choice
Programs in Milwaukee and Racine
26,000 students in Milwaukee, 1200 in Racine
125 private and religious schools
$7210/7856 maximum reimbursement
Statewide Wisconsin Parental Choice Program
31 schools and 1000 students outside Milwaukee
and Racine
Choice in Wisconsin
Parents receive a voucher from the state to enroll their
children in participating private and religious schools.
The program is limited to those families with adjusted
gross incomes at or below 185% of federal poverty.
In 2014-15, participation was limited to 1000 students
with no more than 1% from any individual school
SCW is working to include in the 2015-2017 state
budget significant expansion in number vouchers, no
limit on the number of participating schools, and no
limit on percentage of public school district enrollment.
The Wisconsin Parental
Choice Program Summary
Vouchers empower parents to choose a private
or religious school for their children in lieu of
assignment to the a specific public school.
Typically, the voucher represents a portion of
state and local funding that would have been
expended by the public school district on the
student. Savings to the state and local
The voucher is allocated to a participating
family and used as full or partial payment of
tuition at the private or religious school.
What is a voucher?
Is it a good fit for your school?
Cost vs. Benefit
 DPI Auditor fee
 Semi-annual audits
 Extra admissions work
 Student Information System (SIS)
Voucher=$7,210 K-8 or $7,856 HS
Serve more students
Vouchers and Schools
Is it a good fit for your school?
 Curriculum decisions – YOU decide
 Enrollment numbers – YOU decide
Vouchers and Schools
Eligible students includes all pupils, whether
public school students or private school
students, in grades 4K-12.
The school determines the grade levels and the
number of seats it will make available.
Which students and
which grades?
Online application
Provide proof they meet residency and income
The online application is not complete until the
school to which they have applied has verified
and accepted the required documentation.
How do parents apply?
Parents must reply to the school.
If the parent has applied to more than one
school, the parent must choose which school
they wish to attend and reply to that school
within five days of notification.
Thank God and jump for joy!
What do parents do if
their child is accepted?
Qualifying Incomes for Milwaukee and Racine Programs
Family Size
Single Income Married Income (+$7000)
Income levels are Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)
300% of Federal Poverty 2014-2015
Qualifying Incomes for Statewide WPCP
Family Size
Single Income Married Income (+$7000)
Income levels are Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)
185% of Federal Poverty 2014-2015
A “once in, always in” provision allows family
income to rise once a student is in the statewide
school choice expansion.
Family income is determined for each student in the
year they enter the program. Families could have
some children qualify and others that do not
depending on family income in the year each child
enters the program.
Please note this only applies if a student continues to
attend a school in the school choice program and
does not voluntarily leave the program.
What if family income rises in
subsequent years?
Parents may not be charged additional tuition for
grades K-8.
A school may charge a student reasonable fees for
personal items such as towels, gym clothes or
uniforms, social and extracurricular activities if the
activity is not a part of the required curriculum,
musical instruments, meals, and high school classes
not required or credited for graduation.
A student may not be charged a fee for registration
or application to the program, books, teacher
salaries, buildings, maintenance, equipment,
computers, and any other fee directly related to the
required curriculum.
Will parents have to pay
additional tuition and fees?
Will the child be required
to follow the school rules?
If the school chooses to provide transportation,
a fee may be charged.
In some cases, the school district of residence
will provide transportation or reimburse the
parent a certain amount for their transportation
costs through a contract.
Must a school provide
PCP schools with available seats must accept
any student that meets income eligibility and
residency requirements – cannot select students
based on other factors
However – as a private school, a school in the
PCP is only required to offer services to a
special needs student that it can provide with
minor adjustments
According to the SCDP between 7.5 and 14.6
percent of students in private schools in the
MPCP have a disability
Special Needs
Increased per pupil funding
$7210 K-8
$7856 High School
Creation of the Wisconsin Parental Choice
The program is limited to those families with
incomes below 185% of the federal poverty level.
In 2014-15, participation is limited to 1000
students with no more than 1% from any
individual school district.
Changes in the 2013 Budget
January – attend DPI training in Madison
February 1st
May 1st
Submit Intent to Participate Form
Pay nonrefundable DPI auditor fee
Submit hour of instruction report
Start accepting student applications
Submit budget to DPI
August 1st
Certificate of occupancy
Proof of insurance/fidelity bond
Timeline to join program
Since 1990, six studies have examined the fiscal
impact of school choice on taxpayers
 All six show school choice saves money for
 None found a negative impact
$230 million saved in Wisconsin 1990-2011 just
in the Milwaukee program
Over $300 million saved in Milwaukee, Racine,
and statewide through 2014
School Choice Saves
Private schools are accountable to parents who
can pull their child out of a school that fails
Private school comply with a vast array of
health and safety issues, anti-discrimination
and civil rights laws, accreditation
requirements, financial audits, and disclosure
of student performance on standardized tests.
The school choice programs in Wisconsin are
the most regulated and accountible in the
School Choice is
Schools in the MPCP are supportive of targeted
accountability measures ensuring the MPCP
remains a high quality program including:
 Fiscal accountability
 Testing
 Accreditation and pre-accreditation
 Bad actor provisions
Over 40 low-performing schools removed as a
result of targeted accountability measures
Overwhelmingly, academic studies have found
that school choice improves public schools
 Increased responsiveness to competition
 No creaming of the best students
Of 23 studies, none have shown that school
choice harms public schools
School Choice Does Not Hurt
Public Schools?
When students leave the public school through
school choice, the public school is relieved of
the duty/cost of educating those students.
Typically, private schools are less expensive to
taxpayers than public schools. As students
tranfer to private schools, government can
choose to increase per pupil spending at the
public schools.
School Choice Does Not Drain
Resourses from Public Schools
Twelve gold-standard random-assignment
analyses of school choice
 All twelve studies showed better academic
outcomes for the school choice students
than for the contol group
 Eleven of twelve studies achieved a high
level of statistical certainty
 No study found that school choice had a
negative impact on student achievement
School Choice Has a Positive
Effect on Academic Achievement
MPCP Longitudinal Growth Study showed that
MPCP students exhibited greater growth in reading
achievement compared to similar group of MPS
According to the School Choice Demonstration
Project (SCDP), students who attended MPCP
schools for four years had significantly higher
graduation rates (94%) than students who attended
MPS high schools for four years (75%)
Students in MPCP have higher graduation rates than
similar students in MPS and are more likely to enroll
and remain in a four-year college compared to
similar MPS students, according to SCDP
Results in Milwaukee
Remember to apply for the WPCP by Feb 1,
Please email or call Terry Brown at School
Choice WI for assistance including an onsite
presentation or meeting
[email protected]
Thank You!

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