The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice

Advancing Milton and Rose D. Friedman's Vision of School Choice for All Children

Wisconsin - Parental Choice Program (Statewide)

Enacted 2013 • Launched 2013 • Voucher

Wisconsin’s statewide Parental Choice Program is open to any income-qualified child who resides outside of the attendance zones for Milwaukee Public Schools and the Racine Unified School District. The program is capped at 500 students in its first year.

Latest Stats (2013-14)

  • Students participating: 500
  • Schools participating: 25
  • Average voucher value: $6,442

Program Details

Student Funding
In 2013-14, vouchers are worth the lesser of the following for each participating student: $6,442 or the school’s operating and debt service cost per pupil. In 2014-15, the maximum voucher amount will be $7,210 for grades K-8 and $7,856 for grades 9-12. Beginning in 2015-16, maximum voucher payments increase by a percentage equal to the percentage increase in general school aid to Wisconsin public schools. The voucher may not exceed the private school’s per-student costs, including operating expenses and debt service.

Student Eligibility
In 2013-14, Wisconsin families who qualify for free and reduced-price lunch and reside outside of either the Milwaukee Public Schools or the Racine Unified School District are eligible. Students must also come from families with incomes up to 185 percent of the federal poverty level ($43,568 for a family of four in 2013-14); moreover, a family’s income limit increases by $7,000 if the student’s parents/legal guardians are married. In the program’s first year, participation is limited to 500 students statewide; if more than 500 students apply to participate in the program, only the 25 schools with the most applicants may participate. In the following years, participation will be limited to 1,000 students. Each district will have an enrollment cap of 1 percent of its public school district enrollment, and private schools must have been in operation on May 1, 2013 to participate.

Rules & Regulations
• Income Limit: 185 percent x poverty
• Prior Year Public School Requirement: None
• Geographic Limit: Statewide (except for Milwaukee and Racine)
• Enrollment Cap: 500
• Voucher Cap: $6,442
• Testing Mandates: Nationally recognized norm-referenced tests

Governing Statutes
Wis. Stat. § 118.60

Friedman Contact
Doran Moreland |

Related Research

10/30/2014 The School Starter Checklist: Meeting the Private Education Regulations in States with School Choice
4/2/2009 The High Cost of Wisconsin’s Dropout Rate

Related News

3/12/2014 National Review Online | Choosing to Learn
1/23/2014 U.S. voucher, school choice enrollment reaches record high
9/9/2013 Bloomberg | Obama’s Misguided War Against School Choice
8/15/2013 Sharing your story in “The ABCs” can be as easy as one, two, three
8/6/2013 Stateline | Tax Dollars for Private School Tuition Gain in States

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