Wisconsin Parental Choice Program 101
WHAT IS THE WISCONSIN PARENTAL CHOICE PROGRAM?
Education is not “one size fits all.” Not every school is the right fit for every child. We’ve long known that private schools can offer a valuable alternative educational path for students who are looking for a different or better fit for their educational experience. We also know that parent involvement in their child’s education goes hand in hand with successful outcomes.
Unfortunately, many parents lack the choice options or funding to be able to access the private education that represents the best educational fit for their family.
Thankfully, the state of Wisconsin recognizes this reality. Since 2013, the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program (WPCP) supports parents to make this exact choice. The WPCP creates an “educational voucher” that allows qualified parents the opportunity to search for the best educational fit for their child- and to have that choice at a qualified private school.
All Wisconsin families pay for their children’s education through our taxes. The WPCP allows WI families that qualify to access your funding that is allocated for your child and use these tax dollars at a school that you deem to be the best educational fit for your child. We’re no longer bound by finances or geography in our educational decisions!
WHAT TYPES OF SCHOOLS CAN PARTICIPATE IN THE WPCP?
Not every private school can qualify for the WPCP. As you can imagine, when state educational funding enters the picture, there is an immense amount of transparency and accountability that is required for schools to enter and remain a part of this program.
Sheboygan Christian School has been involved in the WPCP since its inception in 2013. One of the many requirements of this program is that we need to track and share all kinds of student success data and publish it in the form of our school report card.
BUT AREN’T YOU A RELIGIOUS SCHOOL? WHAT ABOUT SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE?
This is one of our favorite questions! First of all, yes! We are unabashedly proud of our faith based education. We fully integrate our Christian faith into everything that we do.
Regarding “separation,” contrary to popular belief, “separation of church and state” is not in the United States Constitution, and when the founding fathers did use this phrase, they were really referencing a state-run church. So, any separation in our nation’s DNA is really all about keeping the state out of the church, not the other way around.
In spite of that, Sheboygan Christian School is not a church-run school anyway! We’re a parent-governed, private independent school.
Through the WPCP, we need to maintain high academic standards- which we do anyway! The state also doesn’t limit us in any way in fulfilling our biblical mission and incorporating our biblically informed faith into everything that we do.
By the way, every student that opts into the school choice program saves the local school district about 30% of their tax allotment for education. In many respects, we can do a better job for the unique needs or desires of individual students at a lower cost to the taxpayers. If it’s done correctly, this represents a WIN/WIN/WIN!
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR MY FAMILY?
If your family qualifies for the WPCP funding, it means that a private education at Sheboygan Christian School will come at no cost to your family for the duration of their academic career. And because SCS is 3K through 12th grade, this means that your child can remain in this program at SCS through high school graduation!
DO I QUALIFY FOR THE WPCP?
It’s a pretty complicated process with a lot of variables to get an answer to this question.
We’ve taken a lot of the guesswork out of the process for you. You’ll see on our “Do I Qualify For the WPCP” form below that we can’t give you official acceptance into the program, but we can help guide you through the process to get a really strong indication as to where you would stand with the WPCP and what next steps you should take.
WHAT IF I DO QUALIFY FOR THE WPCP?
Great news! Once in, always in! Your education at SCS would be funded through this program for the duration of your child’s academic career through high school graduation!
Regarding application for enrollment at SCS, you’ll want to follow our WPCP application timeline on the right hand side here.
WHAT IF I DO NOT QUALIFY FOR THE WPCP?
If you don’t qualify for this program because of income, family size, or other factors, and you’re still concerned about the financial side of things, Sheboygan Christian School still offers needs based scholarships. Click here to learn more about our FACTS program.
Regarding application for enrollment at SCS, you’ll want to follow our traditional application timeline on the left hand side here.
WHAT ABOUT SPECIAL CASES? WHAT ABOUT STUDENTS WITH INDIVIDUALIZED EDUCATION PLANS (IEP’s)?
Because students with special needs represent an even greater need for unique educational decisions, there are fewer restrictions and more funding for students in this situation. Through the Special Needs Scholarship Program (SNSP), students can qualify for special education services through SCS. We’ve been a proud member of this program since 2019.
Please still complete the “Do I Qualify for the WPCP” form if this applies to your child as we have unique steps to walk you through this process.
WI Department of Public Instruction: FAQ’s
Rudi’s Interview with Corey DeAngelis, Director of School Choice at the Reason Foundation