Parental Private School Choice Program (Racine)

  • Voucher
  • Enacted 2011
  • Launched 2011

Racine, Wisconsin’s Parental Private School Choice Program offers private school vouchers to Racine families who meet certain income restrictions. Continue reading this page for more program details, including funding, eligibility, regulations and more.

We do not administer this program.

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  • 4,038

    Participating Students (Fall 2023)

  • 66%

    of Families with Children Income-eligible Districtwide

  • 35

    Participating Schools (Fall 2023)

  • $10,549

    Average Voucher Value (202324)

  • 76%

    Value as a Percentage of Public School Per-student Spending

Wisconsin’s Parental Private School Choice Program (Racine) Participation

Students Participating
School Year Ending

Student Funding

In 2023–24, the maximum voucher amount is $9,499 for grades K–8 and $11,993 for grades 9–12. Voucher amounts are calculated as a portion of the state’s revenue limit, which includes a combination of state aid and local property taxes. Each school year, maximum voucher payments increase as general school aid to Wisconsin public schools increases.

Parents of students in grades 9–12 that have an income greater than 220 percent of the federal poverty level ($66,000 for a family of four in 2023–24) may be charged additional tuition exceeding the voucher amount.

(Last updated December 14, 2023)

Student Eligibility

Students from families with household incomes up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level ($90,000 for a family of four in 2023–24) 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 or home 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 event of an enrollment lottery.

(Last updated December 14, 2023)

EdChoice Expert Feedback

Wisconsin’s voucher for low-income students in Racine helps thousands of students access schools that are the right fit for them, but policymakers could do more to expand educational opportunity.

Eligibility for the scholarships is limited to students from families in Racine earning up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level ($90,000 for a family of four in 2023–24). About two-thirds of Racine students are income-eligible to receive a scholarship. Statewide, less than 5 percent of students participate in one of Wisconsin’s private educational choice options (including the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, the Statewide Parental Choice Program the Special Needs Scholarship Program, and the K-12 Private School Tuition Deduction). This is the third highest EdChoice share in the nation.

The average scholarship size is about $10,500, which is about three-quarters of the average expenditure per student at Wisconsin’s district schools.

In 2023, Wisconsin policymakers took the positive step of increasing the voucher amounts to be closer to per-pupil spending at district schools. Voucher students will now receive approximately 76% of per pupil funding at the public schools. Policymakers should also expand eligibility to all students. The program could also be converted into an education savings account to ensure that all students have access to the education that’s the right fit for them, whether private school or a customized course of education.

The Racine voucher program has some unnecessary and counterproductive regulations. For example, the program requires voucher students in certain grades to take the state’s standardized test. Instead of mandating a single test, policymakers should allow parents and schools to choose from a variety of nationally norm-referenced tests. Policymakers should also amend the program so that it no longer interferes with schools’ admissions standards.

(Last updated December 14, 2023)

Rules and Regulations

  • Income Limit: 300 percent x Poverty
  • Prior Year Public School Requirement: Yes, with exceptions
  • Geographic Limit: District (Racine Unified)
  • Enrollment Cap: None
  • Voucher Cap: $9,499 (K–8) / $11,993 (9–12)
  • Testing Mandates: State

School Requirements

  • Meet state nondiscrimination policies
  • Meet health and safety codes
  • Allow students to opt out of religious programs
  • Administer state testing to scholarship recipients in third, fourth, eighth, ninth, 10th and 11th grade
  • If not already accredited, receive accreditation within three years of participating in the program
  • Submit to the state an annual financial audit conducted by a certified public accountant
  • Provide evidence of sound fiscal practices and financial viability to the state
  • School administrators must undergo financial training and have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education
    • Teachers must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education, and teacher aides must have received a high school diploma or been granted a GED or HSED
  • Administer background checks for all employees
  • Provide 1,050 hours of direct pupil instruction in grades 1–6 and 1,137 hours of direct pupil instruction in grades 7–12
  • Must provide the state with information about the academic program at the participating schools and student test score data

(Last updated December 14, 2023)

Governing Statutes

Wis. Stat. § 118.60

(Last updated December 14, 2023)