Gov. Scott Walker’s voucher program funds students who already attended private schools, data shows

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction released statistics Tuesday revealing that 79 percent of students receiving vouchers under Gov. Scott Walker’s new voucher program did not attend a public school in 2012.

Walker’s Wisconsin Parental Choice Program is designed to give funding to underprivileged families in the form of vouchers to allow students who attend low-performing public schools to attend private schools.

The program will cost taxpayers $3 million for 2013-’14 and currently enrolls 512 students, leaving each student’s family with roughly $6,000.

State Rep. Sondy Pope, D-Cross Plains, criticized the program for subsidizing 371 students who already attended private schools the year before, according to a statement.

Minority Leader Rep. Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, called the data “shocking” in a statement. Barca said public school money is being used to subsidize private schools and satisfy Republican special interest groups.

Republicans who had not commented on the bill by the time of publishing have previously said the voucher program helps low-income students get a better education.

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