Taxpayer Funded Private Schools
Once again the expansion of taxpayer-funded private schools in Wisconsin is in the headlines.
On December 12, 2013, Life Skills Academy (LSA), a Christian, taxpayer-funded voucher school in Milwaukee, closed its doors without notifying anyone and moved to Florida to set up another taxpayer-funded private school.
One out of 66 students at LSA tested proficient in reading or math. Sixty-six students had their education disrupted and will need remedial work as they move back to Milwaukee or other public schools after falling behind at LSA.
LSA received more than $2,000,000 in taxpayer money since 2008, more than $633,248 in 2012-2013, and over $100,000 in 2013-2014. Neither of the schools founders, Taron and Rodney Monroe, had teaching certificates or experience operating a school funded with taxpayer money.
Fifty taxpayer-funded voucher schools have closed in the last ten years, impacting the education of hundreds of students and their families, and costing Wisconsin taxpayers millions of dollars. Washington Dubois Christian Leadership Academy closed in mid-December at a cost of $200,000 to taxpayers this school year. Other taxpayer-funded private schools that closed recently: Mandella School of Science and Math, L.E.A.D.E.R. School, and Harambee Community School.
The Department of Public Instruction has very little authority to monitor the taxpayer-funded private schools because of legislative action. The DPI cannot recoup any of the money.