The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice

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

Wisconsin - Parental Private School Choice Program (Racine)

Enacted 2011 • Launched 2011 • Voucher

Wisconsin’s Parental Private School Choice Program (Racine) is open to any income-qualified child who attended Racine Unified Public Schools in the prior year or any current or entering private school student in kindergarten or first grade and kindergarten schools that specifically serve only four- and five-year-old students. Entering private school ninth-graders also are eligible.

Latest Stats (2013-14)

  • Students participating: 1,183
  • Schools participating: 13
  • 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 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. Parents of students in grades 9-12 that have an income greater than 220 percent of the federal poverty level ($51,810 for a family of four in 2013-14) may be charged additional tuition above the voucher amount.

Student Eligibility
Students from families with household incomes up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level ($70,650 for a family of four in 2013-14) are eligible for vouchers; moreover, a family’s income limit eligibility increases by $7,000 if the student’s parents or legal guardians are married. Students who are continuing the program from previous years and those who were on a school’s waiting list in the prior year because the school did not have space available do not need to demonstrate income eligibility. Students must have been either (1) enrolled in a public school in the previous year, (2) not enrolled in school in the previous year, (3) enrolled in a private school under the voucher program in the previous year, or (4) be entering kindergarten, first grade, or ninth grade. If an applying student has a sibling already in the private school the applicant wishes to attend, he or she will receive preference in the voucher lottery.

Legal Developments
No legal challenges have been filed against the program.

Rules & Regulations
• Income Limit: 300 percent x poverty
• Prior Year Public School Requirement: None
• Geographic Limit: District (Racine Unified)
• Enrollment Cap: None
• 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
7/1/2013 Wisconsin governor signs budget with statewide school voucher expansion
6/21/2013 School vouchers going statewide in Wisconsin
1/23/2013 “The ABCs of School Choice,” 2013 Edition, Now Available
4/12/2012 Wall Street Journal | School Vouchers Gain Ground
9/30/2011 2011’s New School Choice Programs

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