68 private schools apply for voucher program

File photo. (MGN Online/University of Kentucky)
File photo. (MGN Online/University of Kentucky)

GREEN BAY- More children in our area could receive private school vouchers.

The state has released the list of possible voucher schools for this coming school year.

More than twenty area private schools are on it.

Green Bay's Pilgrim Lutheran School had 25 children apply for vouchers last summer.

The number of students wasn't enough to be selected as a voucher school.

So, it's trying again.

“I think we have a better opportunity this time. We are able to get out more information,” said Ken Longmire, the school’s principal.

Last year, schools had only a few weeks to complete a rigorous application process.

“We had to take two trips down to Madison. One was for general enrollment process and one was a financial piece.

They also had to get the word out to families.

This time, private schools had months to prepare.

NEW Lutheran high school administrators say they had reservations applying for the program the first time around. But this year, they're on the list.

“From the private school perspective, there are a lot of things you have to comply with,” said Chris Nelson, the school's executive director.

Nelson says he sought advice from the area's current voucher schools.

“Our friends in the GRACE system and at Notre Dame as well were very helpful in providing some tips and some insights in how to promote the program and how to process the paperwork through the DPI,” said Nelson.

The Wisconsin International School in De Pere says it did not apply because the regulations that come with vouchers.

The school's President says allowing voucher students would mean changing admission and testing policies.

He says while he isn't necessarily opposed to vouchers, the program does not fit his school.

This coming year, the voucher enrollment cap will increase from 500 to one thousand total students.

Schools already in the program keep their spots within the original 500.

The top 25 schools of interest will receive 10 students each.

The remaining 250 statewide spots will be decided by lottery.

They'll go to those selected schools.

NEW Lutheran and Pilgrim Lutheran School say they need a greater interest to reach that top 25.

Low-income families who qualify for vouchers have until April 21st to apply.

This year enrollment was capped at 500 students. Next year 500 additional students will be allowed in, taken from the 25 schools with the most applicants if more than 1,000 apply.

The 68 applying schools is up from the 48 that applied last year.

All but three of the new applicants are religious schools.

Student applications are accepted through April 21.