Private school voucher program opens

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Parents need to apply by April 20

St. Anthony School in Oconto Falls is among 262 private nonsectarian and religious schools and school systems registered with the Department of Public Instruction to accept students for the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program for the 2019-20 school year.

The open enrollment period for the program began Friday and continues through April 20.

St. Anthony School serves about 90 students from kindergarten through fifth grade. Affiliated with St. Anthony & St. Patrick Catholic Parish, the school is open to students from all denominations.

The parental choice program allows students who reside outside of the Milwaukee Public and Racine Unified school districts to use a taxpayer‑funded subsidy to attend participating private or religious schools. To qualify for the program, a new student must have a family income equal to or less than 220 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $55,220 for a family of four, or $62,220 if the child’s parents or guardians are married.

Generally, for the statewide choice program for the 2019-20 school year, students must be applying to 4- or 5-year-old kindergarten or grades one or nine. Students who attended a Wisconsin public school the previous year, attended school in another state, did not attend school, participated in the choice program or were on the waiting list might also be eligible.

Parents who wish to enroll their children in the statewide voucher program for the 2019-20 school year must complete the online application before April 20 on the application website: https://dpi.wi.gov/sms/choice-programs/student-applications. After completing the online application, parents must provide residency and income documentation (if applicable) to the school(s) they apply to before the close of the application period.

Eligible students in grades kindergarten through eight may attend the private school without charge for tuition. Continuing choice students in grades nine through 12 may be charged tuition if their family income exceeds 220 percent of the federal poverty level. The private school, on behalf of each student’s parent or guardian, receives a state aid payment for each eligible choice student. The payment, set in state law, is $7,754 for students in kindergarten through grade eight and $8,400 for students in grades nine to 12 for the current school year.