An Inclusive Litany

5/21/00

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, May 21, 2000:
Nearly half of the schools participating in Milwaukee's private school choice program had to return money to the state last year—in two cases, more than $100,000 each—because, hard as they tried, they couldn't spend the $4,894 they were given to educate each of their choice students, records show.

As Milwaukee Public Schools officials prepare to approve a budget for 2000-'01 that comes to about $9,500 per student, audits of schools in the choice program show they are struggling to spend just half of what is spent by their public counterparts.

"We don't have to pay for a huge administration and a lot of red tape," said Lois Maczuzak, an administrator at St. John Kanty School, 2840 S. 10th St., which spent $3,096 to educate each student, making it the lowest-cost school in the choice program.

Under the program, which lets low-income students attend private and religious schools at taxpayer expense, students in 1998-'99 received vouchers worth either $4,894 or the choice school's cost to educate each pupil, whichever was less. This year, the vouchers are worth slightly more than $5,000.

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