• 222 private schools have applied to participate in the statewide private school tuition voucher program in 2018-2019
  • Married families of four making $61,120 or less are eligible to receive a taxpayer funded voucher for their children to participate in the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program (WPCP)
  • 84% of children receiving vouchers in the WPCP in the 2017-2018 school year were either already attending private schools, homeschooled, or new to Wisconsin schools. Only 16% of students receiving vouchers in the WPCP program transferred from public schools in 2017-2018.
  • The state of Wisconsin has spent $51,309,130 to educate private school students in the WCPC program since it was expanded in 2013.
  • Taxpayers paid $269.7 million total on private school tuition vouchers (including Milwaukee and Racine) in the 2017-2018 school year
  • 230 of Wisconsin’s 426 public schools districts received less state aid in 2017-2018 than they did in 2016-2017
  • The caps for enrollment are slowly being lifted every year until they are set in statute to be lifted entirely in 2026-27 school year.
    Sources: DPI 2017DPI 2018

Links and Resources:

10 Ways to Support Wisconsin Students & Schools (pdf/handout)

Video: How Public Schools Came to Be (DPI)

Video: “Road to ReferendumThe school funding process utilized by the state of Wisconsin is complicated and unpopular, if not broken. Ask anyone who pays into it. “Road to Referendum” details the problems inherent in the current funding system, and highlights some possible solutions, from the point-of-view of the community of Eau Claire, WI — which is headed to a fall referendum on school financing.

Network for Public Education: Privatization toolkits

School Funding:

At our Summer Summit every year, we hold a session called School Funding 101, here is the powerpoint presentation from the 2019 Summit. For more in-depth information on these topics and to have a chance to ask the tough questions in person, come to our 2020 Summer Summit.

Revenue Limits are the set amount each district is allowed by the state to spend per pupil. These limits were set in 1993 and frozen under Governor Walker, so they are no longer increased yearly to adjust for inflation. The difference between the revenue limit and the amount of state aid received is paid for by the local property tax levy. In recent years, record percentages referenda have passed statewide as voters choose to raise taxes on themselves to cover basic needs of local schools. A recent Marquette law school poll found 80% of people want more funding for our public schools. Let’s call on lawmakers to fix Wisconsin’s broken funding formula and provide adequate resources to our public schools to guarantee that every student has equally opportunity and access to an excellent public education in our state!

Here is an overview of the whole state and a close up of District 1.

Wisconsin State map-secondary boundaries-1 FY17_Base_Rvenue_Senate_Maps-01

Click here to see your district and download these images

Special Education Reimbursement. In 2018, Wisconsin reimburses special education costs at just 26%. This interactive map show how much aid districts would receive if the state covered these mandated costs at a 90% reimbursement rate.


DPI Resource: Wisconsin School Finance system (website)

DPI: Challenges for Wisconsin: School Finance and Vouchers (pdf)

How School Privatization opens the Door for Discrimination (Powerpoint), from 2019 Summer Summit, presented by Dr. Julie Mead, UW-Madison Professor of Education Law

DPI: Introduction to Special Education Funding (PowerPoint)

DPI: A brief history of vouchers (pdf)

Public Schools: Make Them Private,” by Milton Friedman (1995)

Mead, J.F. (2015). Private in Name Only: A Statutory and Constitutional Analysis of Milwaukee’s Private School Voucher Program. Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice. 21(2), 331-382.
Online Publication/Abstract

FUNDING GAPS: Click here to see how Wisconsin compares to other states in funding high and low poverty students. https://edtrust.org/map/