MADISON, Wis. (WSAU-Wheeler News Service) - Supporters of Wisconsin's school voucher say it gives low-income kids struggling in public schools a chance for a better education in private schools. However, that's not happening this fall with the 500 students who received vouchers to attend private schools outside of Milwaukee County and Racine.
The state Department of Public Instruction said today that 73-percent of the 500-plus youngsters were already in private school a year ago. Only 21-percent made the jump from public schools. The other six-percent came from out-of-state -- or they were not in school at all last year.
The 73-percent figure for private school holdovers was higher than the 67-percent the D-P-I had predicted in August. Appleton and the Green Bay-De Pere areas had the highest private school enrollments in the voucher program with 53 each. Oshkosh had 29 at Lourdes Acadamy and another 20 at Valley Christian School. Sheboygan has 10 voucher students at Sheboygan Area Lutheran High School and another 20 at Sheboygan Christian School. Twenty voucher students attend Saint Mary's Springs Academy in Fond du Lac.
In Central Wisconsin, Marshfield had 27 students in the voucher program Columbus Catholic School. Stevens Point and Plover areas had 22 at one of the Stevens Point Area Catholic School sites. Wisconsin Rapids have 32 voucher students at Assumption Catholic School and 12 more at Immanuel Lutheran School.
The voucher expansion was limited to 500 students this year. It will be a-thousand next year.