Wisconsin’s Parental Choice Program
by Shannon McDonald | May 14, 2019
The school choice program has been hailed as one of the great modern advances in the education of today’s youth. The program provides students with families meeting certain income requirements an alternative to public instruction. Where the students historically had been required to attend public schools in their area, those same students now can choose between private schools authorized by the State to accept the students participating in the program.
The school choice program in the State of Wisconsin incorporates a voucher system. Under this system, qualified students attend a private school authorized by the State and have some or all the tuition paid by the State.
There are three Private School Choice Programs in the State of Wisconsin: Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP), Racine Parental Choice Program (MPCP), and Wisconsin Parental Choice Program (WPCP). Notably, the MPCP was enacted in 1990 and is “considered the nation’s first modern private school choice program.” The State of Wisconsin enacted the Parental Choice Program in 2013.
Schools participating in the school choice program are required to comply with rigorous standards imposed by the State through its Department of Public Instruction. These standards include, but are in no way limited to, minimum teacher and staff credentials, strict adherence to accounting principles, safety and general recordkeeping functions. Failure to comply with any one of the many requirements places the school at risk of having payments from State to the school withheld, barring the school from participating in the program, or both. Accordingly, it is crucial that the school is familiar with the various rules and regulations imposed by the State.
McDonald & Kloth, LLC, assists schools in participating in the Wisconsin school choice programs. Our attorneys are knowledgeable and experienced in the many requirements imposed on the school by the Department of Public Instruction. We provide assistance from the school’s first application to participate in the program through formal hearings where payments have been withheld by the State and where the State has sought to ban a school from participating in the program altogether.
If your school needs assistance with its school choice program, contact McDonald & Kloth, LLC, to schedule an appointment. One of our attorneys will be glad to help.