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Final list for state’s School Choice Program could come this week

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MADISON (WITI) — A spokesman with the state’s Department of Public Instruction says staff members are working “overtime” to sort through the applications for the state’s expanded School Choice Program.  The final list is expected to be released later this week.

If more than 500 students sign up for the program statewide, only the 25 schools or systems with the most applicants out of the 48 that signed up would be allowed to participate — with somewhere between 15-30 slots given to each school.

The program, which offers a taxpayer-supported “voucher” to attend private school began in Milwaukee more than 20 years ago and expanded to Racine in 2011.

Private schools in other parts of the state, such as Green Bay, Appleton, Waukesha and Kenosha, have been building support for the program for more than two years.

When Gov. Scott Walker signed the 2013-2015 Wisconsin state budget, he signed into law a sweeping expansion of the School Choice program, which allows parents to subsidize private educations with public money or vouchers.

Vouchers will be available across the state, but because of caps on enrollment, just 500 students in the state this year, and 1,000 next year — only 25 schools will be chosen to participate in the program.

Schools had to sign up by July 26th. The Department of Public Instruction released the list of participating schools on July 31st. Students’ families were able to apply online between Aug. 1st and Aug. 9th.