NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Vouchers Keep Costs Low, Return Unused Money

July 11, 2000

Milwaukee's school choice program continues to undermine the argument that vouchers take money from the public schools. While the public schools still claim they need more money, the choice schools are having trouble spending less than half the amount spent in public schools. The private schools that participate in the program actually returned unused money to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

  • Of the 82 choice schools, 39 spent less that the voucher allotment of $4,984, returning a total of $1.2 million to the state's taxpayers.
  • Oklahoma Avenue Lutheran School spent $3,725 per student, including a one-time charge for infrastructure improvements, saving taxpayers $1,169 per student.
  • The lowest cost school, St. John Kanty School, spent $3,096 per pupil, and returned $1,888 per pupil of the voucher allotment to the taxpayers.
  • By contrast, Milwaukee public schools spend $9,500 per pupil annually.

In the 2000-2001 school year, the Milwaukee program is expected to have 8,000 students in 93 private schools. The vouchers are expected to be worth just over $5,000, for a total of $38.9 million. Twenty-two additional private schools will join the program this year, which may increase the number of students participating to as many as 10,000 students.

Source: "Voucher Schools Keep Costs Low," July 2000, School Reform News, Heartland Institute, 19 South LaSalle #903, Chicago, IL 60603, (312), 377-4000.


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