Friday, June 21, 2013
MADISON, WI—The birthplace of the private school choice movement is making vouchers available statewide. Once limited to just Milwaukee—expanded in 2011 to include Racine—vouchers soon will be available to low-income students in every Wisconsin school district with the legislature’s passage of the state budget, which Gov. Scott Walker has indicated he will sign July 1.
Today the Wisconsin Senate followed the State Assembly’s actions and passed Gov. Walker’s 2013-14 budget, which includes making vouchers available to no more than 1 percent of every district’s students who qualify for the federal Free and Reduced-Price Lunch program. The availability of vouchers is capped at 500 students in 2013-14, and 1,000 each year thereafter. However, voucher students, regardless of their home district, who attend Milwaukee and Racine private schools will not count toward that cap.
“Although the plan is limited, Wisconsin lawmakers’ actions continue to prove that school choice is not going away any time soon,” said Robert Enlow, president and CEO of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. “Demand from parents, savings for taxpayers, and positive effects for students are driving these programs forward.”
The adopted budget also raises the voucher amounts to a maximum of $7,210 in grades K-8 and $7,856 in grades 9-12. Participating private schools are required to provide a nationally norm-referenced test and be in operation since May 1, 2013. The budget also allows taxpayers with children in private school to receive a $4,000 deduction for K-8 expenses and a $10,000 deduction for educational costs in grades 9-12.
“Wisconsin should be an example to other states that growing school choice is possible,” said Enlow. “Experience shows that moving toward this system—a system that funds students first—will benefit children, parents, high-quality schools, and great teachers.”
For more details on Wisconsin’s two voucher programs, visit www.edchoice.org/ABCs
About the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice
The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, solely dedicated to advancing Milton and Rose D. Friedman’s vision of school choice for all children. The Foundation promotes school choice as the most effective and equitable way to improve the quality of K-12 education in America.
Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice