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State superintendent: DPI will "hustle" to get information out about vouchers


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The state school superintendent says it will not be easy to follow Republicans’ orders, and get the statewide private school choice expansion going by the start of classes in September.

Tony Evers tells the Wisconsin Radio Network his department will hustle over the next two months to get information out to schools that have never dealt with the 20-year-old choice program.

He says that alone will create confusion. Evers, an opponent of the choice concept, says applications will also have to be prepared and taken.

The Department of Public Instruction must then review those applications to decide which schools will take part.

Milwaukee has had private school choice since the early 1990’s, in which limited numbers of low-income students get state tax vouchers to attend private schools.

Racine was added two years ago.

The governor and his fellow Republicans in the Legislature approved a limited statewide expansion of choice as part of the new state budget.

Republicans say it will give students in poor-performing schools a chance for a better education, while critics say it takes much-needed funding away from public schools.

Evers sides with the latter group.

This fall’s expansion is limited to 500 students in the 25 districts outside of Milwaukee and Racine that get the most applications.

The following year’s limit is 1,000 students.