Another voucher school closes, stirring a simmering pot of issues

Source: Louis Weisberg, Wisconsin Gazette, September 17, 2015

Just nine days into the school year, a Milwaukee voucher school abruptly shut down, drawing renewed criticism from opponents of efforts to privatize Wisconsin’s K–12 public school system. Daughters of the Father Christian Academy says it closed voluntarily, but the Department of Public Instruction had cited it for multiple problems and reportedly tried to remove it from the state’s Parental Choice Program over the summer. … A study published in January by the Wisconsin State Journal concluded that voucher school closings are a common in the state. Eleven schools participating in the voucher program were removed within a year of opening due to poor educational standards — at a $4.1 million cost to taxpayers. … The shutdown of Daughters of the Father Christian Academy brought the number of terminated voucher schools in the state to 57 since 2003, according to a just-released report by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Those schools have cost Wisconsin taxpayers a total of $176 million.

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Closing of voucher school spurs Democrats’ call for accountability
Source: Annysa Johnson, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, September 15, 2015

The closing of another Milwaukee voucher school prompted Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday to renew their calls for greater accountability for private schools that receive state funding through the parental choice programs in Milwaukee and statewide. … The school closed Thursday, pending an appeal of an Aug. 4 order by the state Department of Public Instruction barring it from taking part in the Parental Choice Program. It served about 153 students last year. … State officials ruled that the school, which had received about $5.4 million in public money since the 2007-’08 academic year, had failed to comply with statutory and administrative rules governing participation. According to the DPI’s filing, the academy failed to properly appoint a qualified administrator to run the school after a previous leader resigned. … If the ban stands, Pinkney’s school would be the 57th terminated from the voucher program by the Department of Public Instruction since the 2003-’04 academic year. Those schools had been paid a total of $176 million.