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2,400 Students Apply for 500 New Private School Vouchers

Next week, the Dept. of Public Instruction will pick via a lottery which 500 students get a voucher. Most already attend a religious school.

According to numbers DPI released Thursday, approximately 500 of the 2,400 applicants attended a public school last year and want to switch to private. The majority of applicants are either already enrolled in a private school or are just entering school.

This marks the first time the state is expanding the school Choice or voucher program beyond Milwaukee and Racine. The program began as a pilot in Milwaukee in 1990 with a small number of low-income students.  Income guidelines remain in effect but have gone up over the years, as have the number of participants.

Nearly 50 private schools applied to take part in the expansion. However, only 25 will be allowed in - those with the highest number of applicants. According to DPI records, all 25 participating schools are religious.

Here is the list of schools, along with numbers of their voucher applicants:

-- St. Francis Xavier Catholic School System (193)

-- Regis Catholic Schools (120)

-- Lourdes Academy (113)

-- Green Bay Area Catholic Education - East (110)

-- Assumption Catholic Schools (109)

-- Stevens Point Area Catholic Schools (106)

-- Rock County Christian School (102)

-- Aquinas Catholic Schools (100)

-- St. Joseph Catholic Academy (100)

-- Friedens Lutheran School (95)

-- Valley Christian School (95)

-- Newman Catholic Schools (94)

-- St. Francis of Assisi School (93)

-- McDonnell Area Catholic Schools (88)

-- Columbus Catholic Schools (83)

-- Notre Dame le la Baie Academy (82)

-- Roncalli High School (65)

-- Green Bay Area Catholic Education - South (64)

-- St. Mary's Springs Academy (64)

-- Green Bay Area Catholic Education - West (62)

-- Sheboygan Christian School (59)

-- St. John Lutheran School (42)

-- Sheboygan Area Lutheran High School (42)

-- Immanuel Lutheran School-Wisconsin Rapids (40)

-- Lighthouse Christian School (31)