- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 9, 2014

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The number of students receiving private-school vouchers in Wisconsin is nearing 30,000, making the state a leader when it comes to taxpayer-funded tuition subsidies.

An official headcount conducted in September determined almost 29,700 students were enrolled in the three voucher programs in Milwaukee, Racine and statewide. If the participating private schools were a public school system, it would be the second largest in the state.

Enrollment in voucher programs has grown significantly and will likely continue to do so under the leadership of Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-controlled Legislature, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (https://bit.ly/1G9NEJF ) reported. State lawmakers plan to prioritize the expansion of the voucher program for qualifying students who wish to attend private school during the legislative session that begins in January.

A total of 159 schools, most of them religious, were involved in the voucher programs this fall. In Milwaukee, 113 of the schools served nearly 27,000 students, while 15 Racine schools served almost 1,750 students. There are 31 statewide schools in which more than 1,000 students were enrolled.

The programs cost taxpayers about $211 million, according to state estimates. The programs in Racine and statewide are fully funded by the state, but only two-thirds of the Milwaukee program is covered by the state; the remaining third is paid for by local taxpayers.

Nearly 2,000 students receive a voucher of up to $7,210 annually at St. Anthony School in Milwaukee, the school with the most voucher students in the state.

Only 15 of the 1,975 students at St. Anthony School in Milwaukee don’t receive a voucher of up to $7,210 annually. It is the school with the most voucher students in the state.

The state’s flagship voucher program in Milwaukee is now 25 years old, making it the oldest and largest of its kind in the nation.

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Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, https://www.jsonline.com

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