(The Center Square) – The latest snapshot of the desire for school choice in Wisconsin is developing this week when the Open Application Period for three of Wisconsin’s school choice programs begins Wednesday.
Parents in Milwaukee and Racine have several chances to enroll their kids in Parental Choice Programs for their school district. Parents in the rest of the state only have from February 1 until April 20 to enroll their kids in Wisconsin’s Parental Choice Program.
School choice supporter and consultant Jim Bender said he’s once again expecting to see more families apply to join a choice school.
“Once again, growth expectations are high,” Bender told The Center Square. “The trend was established well before COVID. But since the pandemic, that growth trend has been on steroids.”
School choice enrollment jumped last year as well.
School Choice Wisconsin says the number of students enrolled at choice schools is up at the state’s four private school parental choice programs (6.7%), 4-K private school parental choice programs (8.5%), kindergarten (5.1%) and grades 1-12 (6.8%).
Additionally, the group said, “Independent charter schools reported a headcount of 11,150, an increase of 4.5% from September 2021.”
Bender said that trend will likely continue into the next school year.
“Expect higher enrollments in private school choice, independent charters, virtual charters, homeschooling and public school open enrollment. Parents are searching environments that provide the best situation for their children,” Bender added.
February is also the beginning of the Public School Open Enrollment Program for the 2023-24 school year.
DPI says the open enrollment period for parents who want to send their children to a different public school opens February 6. Parents have until April 28 to apply to switch public schools.