What are some of the implications and requirements of adopting School Choice?
- The Wisconsin Forward Exam must be administered online in the spring of each school year. The Forward Exam is a high quality, research-based, and affordable assessment that meets Wisconsin’s expectations. Currently used exams (e.g. Iowa Basics) may no longer be used.
- Qualified Choice Auditors must complete financial audits annually.
- Specific rules on what is allowable, as a Choice expense must be followed.
A school may ask a parent to raise funds for or contribute volunteer time to the school, but cannot require it as a condition of admission or impose any penalties on a parent or student in the Choice program for failure to participate in fundraising activities or volunteer time.
If a Choice student’s parent or guardian submits to the student’s teacher or the school’s principal a written request that the student be excused from any religious activity, the teacher and school must honor that request.
At the same time once a Choice student is accepted and enrolled in the school, he or she is required to follow the school’s policies and procedures.
What is the plan if School Choice were to disappear?
One of the general support principles called for schools not adopting choice to make a larger investment in the system. What is the basis for this principle?
I believe School Choice is contrary to the social justice teaching of the church and directly responsible for taking funds away from the public school system that must take all students, provide special education and cannot dismiss disruptive students. What is your position on this topic?
When students leave a public school using a voucher, the public school is relieved of the duty of educating those students. State government saves money when students use a voucher to attend private schools, as the voucher amount is less than the average funding per student spent by the state to public schools.
Choice schools are prohibited from discriminating against students with special needs in the admissions process. However, as a private school, a Choice school is required to offer only those services to assist students with special needs that it can provide with minor adjustments. Additionally, state law requires Choice schools to have written procedures in place regarding suspensions and expulsions.
We are concerned about the impact of Choice. Why are there no paying families at the largest Catholic School in Milwaukee if nothing is going to change?
From the St. Anthony website, “St. Anthony’s is the nation’s largest Catholic K-12 School and the largest Parental Choice School.
St. Anthony School has been in existence since 1872, but has evolved and changed over the decades to meet the needs of our community.
Today, we serve a population that is primarily Hispanic and low-income across our five campuses. Our goal is to help these families realize the “American Dream,” offering academic and spiritual education for the whole child around the two pillars of faith formation and educational excellence. We believe that every student should have the opportunity to succeed and to follow God’s call in his or her life.”
Is there a program in place for training teachers and staff for the unique challenges of students who may come from poverty as part of the Racine Parental Choice Program?
Will currently enrolled families that qualify for the Choice Program be eligible for a voucher?
Note that requirement (2) does not allow currently enrolled students to qualify for the Choice program. However, siblings entering kindergarten or first grade are eligible. While efforts to influence legislation have been pursued to increase the opportunity for currently enrolled students in private schools to access Choice to date they have been unsuccessful. Parents are urged to contact their state representatives and senators to advocate on behalf of this change.