From the Journal-Sentinel:
The majority of students who applied to receive a taxpayer-funded subsidy to attend a private, religious school in Wisconsin's new statewide voucher program currently attend private schools, according to new data released Thursday.Just a little while later in the article comes this:
Among the 2,069 eligible students who applied to the top 25 schools — located in cities such as Green Bay, De Pere, Kenosha, Manitowoc, Oshkosh, Sheboygan and Wisconsin Rapids — only 503 students attended public schools last year.
The majority — 67%, or 1,393 students — were already attending a private school last year without the help of taxpayer dollars.Here is a handy graphic from the Milwaukee Democratic Party:
Of all of the voices that are given column space in the article, Jim Bender of the voucher lobby is one that makes my blood boil (as per usual):
Jim Bender, president of the pro-voucher School Choice Wisconsin, said he wasn't surprised the majority of students applying for a statewide voucher were already attending private schools.
"You don't know what the economic situation is for these families," he said. "If you are under 185% of the (federal) poverty level, the public policy decision has been made that those parents are eligible."
He noted that private school parents pay taxes, too. And that the reason for more private- vs. public-school student applicants could be because public-school families already have chosen schools for fall and would be less likely to try to get in last-minute to the new voucher program.Good for them. Hey, guess what, I pay taxes too. And one of the things that goes along with living in our society is having society provide a public education accessible to everyone. It's their choice to send their kids to a private system. I drive a car and choose not to use public transportation, but I'm still obligated to pay for it.
That argument doesn't even hold water with me.
Furthermore, here is the list of 25 schools that are going to be admitted to the system, and who will have to fight it out for the 500 spots in the lottery:
The 25 private schools or school systems, and number of applicants, admitted into the voucher program include:
Green Bay and De Pere: Green Bay Area Catholic Education-East (110), Green Bay Area Catholic Education-South (64), Green Bay Area Catholic Education-West (62), Notre Dame le la Baise Academy (82).
Kenosha: Friedens Lutheran School (95), Saint Joseph Catholic Academy (100).Appleton: Saint Francis Xavier Catholic School System (193).
Eau Claire and Altoona: Regis Catholic Schools (120).
Oshkosh: Lourdes Academy (113) and Valley Christian School (95).Wisconsin Rapids: Assumption Catholic Schools (109) and Immanuel Lutheran School (40).Stevens Point and Plover: Stevens Point Area Catholic Schools (106).
In Beloit and Janesvile: Rock County Christian School (102).
La Crosse and Onalaska: Aquinas Catholic Schools (100).
Wausau and Rothschild: Newman Catholic Schools (94).
Manitowoc: Saint Francis of Assisi School (93) and Roncalli High School (65).
Chippewa Falls: McDonnell Area Catholic Schools (88).
Marshfield: Columbus Catholic Schools (83).
Fond du Lac: Saint Mary's Springs Academy (64).
Sheboygan: Sheboygan Christian School (59) and Sheboygan Area Lutheran High School (42).
Plymouth: Saint John Lutheran School (42).
Madison: Lighthouse Christian School (31).Remember when there was some talk about how these numbers looked when the voucher program was expanded to Racine in 2011? The Capital Times talked about that WAYYY back in February:
For 2011-12, the first school year the voucher program was in place, 228 students took advantage of the program, which was capped at 250 participants and involved eight private schools.
Of those 228 students, nearly half, 110, were already attending a private school, while 118 left a public school for a private one, according to the state Department of Public Instruction.
That meant nearly half the parents began receiving money from the public school system to cover tuition they previously had paid on their own. Last school year, that amounted to about $2,200 from the Racine district budget for each of the 228 pupils, plus another $4,000 each from the state.
“My opinion is that the people who benefited the most were the parents with kids in private school,” Duff says. “They basically had their tuition paid for them.”