Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

Gov. Evers's proposal to cap enrollment on voucher school program worries participating schools Submitted: 03/04/2019
Rose McBride
Rose McBride
Reporter/Anchor
rmcbride@wjfw.com

Gov. Evers's proposal to cap enrollment on voucher school program worries participating schools
MERRILL - Parents want their children to get the best education possible. 

For some parents that means sending their children to a private school rather than a neighborhood public school. 

And thanks to a program introduced at the beginning of the Walker administration, parents can use taxpayer dollars to put their children in private schools.


But last week Governor Evers announced he wants to put a cap on enrollment in the school choice program beginning in 2021. 

Some private schools say freezing enrollment takes away a parent's choice for how they want their child educated. 

One of the schools that participates in the voucher program is Trinity Lutheran School in Merrill.
All subjects are taught with a religious base at Trinity Lutheran. 

"Parents want that Christian Lutheran education for their students," said administrator Kathy Yahr.
And right now, they have that option, even if they can't afford the tuition. 

"Parents have expressed a lot of gratitude toward us for doing that, and they're just so thankful they can send their child to the school of their choice," said Yahr. 

Families under a certain income level are eligible for the Wisconsin Private School Choice Program. Thirty of Trinity Lutheran's 114 students are in the program. 

Evers's recent announcement calls for a cap on the enrollment at voucher schools primarily because he believes voucher schools aren't transparent. It's something state Democrats agree with. 

"Taxpayers have been paying for two systems for two long and its unaffordable and unsustainable," said Rep. Katrina Shankland, (D) Stevens Point. "I think it's a good thing to cap enrollment because if we continue to allow it to go unchecked that money comes directly out of our neighborhood public schools."

The announcement won't affect Trinity Lutheran right now. The Merrill district can support 70 students in the program and its 30 right now don't come close to that number. But it could become an issue in the future.

"If any of the other private schools, there are three other private parochial schools in Merrill, if any of them decided to become part of the Wisconsin Choice Program it could impact them as well as us," said Yahr.

Yahr says her school offers not only a religious base, but smaller class sizes than public schools and a sense of family. 

"Every teacher knows every students name at this school, and you can never walk by somebody and say that's not my problem because some day it will be," said Yahr.

But with potential changes to the voucher program, that family could look different in the future. And some parents will no longer have as much of a choice in their child's education. 

"I don't think they want to see it become a political issue either. I think that they just are grateful for the opportunity to attend school here," said Yahr.

In addition to capping enrollment in the voucher program, Evers's plan would stop new charter schools from being created through 2023. It would also form new minimum standards for teacher licensing and school accreditation in private schools.


Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

RHINELANDER - A Minocqua man faces a first-degree child sexual assault charge after the victim reported the crime to police years later.

Prosecutors charged John D. Aversano, 31, with the felony Monday in Oneida County court.

According to the criminal complaint, the victim reported the assault from six years prior to family members after learning about inappropriate touching in school.  The family called Minocqua police March 4.  (Newswatch 12 is working to learn more about the seven-week period between police being contacted and charges being brought.  This story will be updated.)

+ Read More

Play Video

TOWN OF DEWEY - A fire ripped through several buildings at a farm in northern Portage County.

According to Newswatch 12's partners at the Point/Plover Metro Wire, the fire was reported around 3 p.m. Tuesday on Sandy Lane in the town of Dewey, which is north of Stevens Point.

Two buildings were on fire as of 3:45 p.m.  One of the buildings -- a shed -- appeared to be a total loss.

Dewey Fire Chief Leroy Pukrop could see smoke coming from the farm when he got the call at home.  He says crews started spraying down the home to cool it off and protect it from the nearby flames.

+ Read More

Play Video

ONEIDA COUNTY - Robin Mendez's attorney tried to shift blame for Barbara Mendez's murder to another man Tuesday. 

Attorney Peter Prusinski called four final witnesses, some who saw a man at the credit union who may have been Thomas Boze on the night of the murder. 

Thomas Boze was at the Park City Credit Union the day Barbara Mendez was killed. Prosecutors don't dispute that. 

+ Read More

MERCER - The five current and former Mercer school board members charged with class I felonies will not face jail time after their charges were dropped.

Denise Thompson, Kelly Kohegyi, Noel Brandt, Micki Holmstrom, and Deanna Pierpont all appeared in court for the first time and learned Monday that all of their charges were dismissed.

+ Read More

RHINELANDER - Who needs eBay when you can just go to the police station?  Rhinelander police plan to auction off dozens of lost or seized items next month.

RPD has 10 pages of items on its website, ranging from car stereos to fishing gear to purses.  Police also have nearly 50 lost bikes up for auction too.

+ Read More

Play Video

NORTH CENTRAL WISCONSIN - Wisconsin lawmakers will soon discuss legislation that could place new limitations on abortion.

+ Read More

MADISON - Gov. Tony Evers says he will veto a Republican-authored bill that could send doctors to prison for life if they fail to give medical care to babies born alive after a failed abortion attempt.

The Democratic Evers tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in a story published Tuesday that he won't sign the bill because of existing protections and criminal penalties in state law.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: