Over the past 10 years, Wisconsin taxpayers have paid about $139 million to private schools that were subsequently barred from the state’s voucher system for failing to meet requirements related to finances, accreditation, student safety and auditing, a State Journal review has found.
More than two-thirds of the 50 schools terminated from the state’s voucher system since 2004 — all in Milwaukee — had stayed open for five years or less, according to the data provided by the state Department of Public Instruction. Eleven schools, paid a total of $4.1 million, were terminated from the voucher program after just one year.
Northside High School, for example, received $1.7 million in state vouchers for low-income students attending the private school before being terminated from the program in its first year in 2006 for failing to provide an adequate curriculum.
The data highlight the challenges the state faces in requiring accountability from private schools in the voucher program, which expanded from just Milwaukee and Racine to a statewide program last school year. The issue has emerged as a key area of disagreement between Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic challenger Mary Burke, a Madison School Board member, in this year’s gubernatorial campaign.
Last school year, there were 108 schools and about 25,000 students participating in the Milwaukee voucher program, and 146 voucher schools total. The state has budgeted about $210 million for all voucher schools for the current school year, compared to around $4.4 billion in general aid for public schools.
Wisconsin spent $11,774 per student in 2011 [ballotpedia] or $10,256,390,270. So, let’s assume that Wisconsin spent on average $9Billion annually since 2004. That’s $90,000,000,000 over the past decade. The state paid $139,000,000 to “failed” voucher schools during that time, or 0.0015% of total K-12 spending…
Perhaps it would be worthwhile to further analyze the effectiveness of said 90,000,000,000… not to mention the present public school “accountability” models. After all, the oft criticized WKCE was used to evaluate schools for some time.d Astonishing.