Supply Grows to Meet Demand for WI Special Needs Scholarship Program

Yesterday, the Wisconsin Department of Special Instruction released the list of schools participating in the Wisconsin Special Needs Scholarship Program. First enacted by the legislature in 2015, enrollment restrictions for the program will be removed starting in the 2017-18 school year. The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, commends Wisconsin lawmakers for prioritizing the needs of families searching for the best educational options to meet the unique needs of their children, because no two children are alike.
Statement from Justin Moralez, Wisconsin State Director for the American Federation for Children:

“The number of new schools registering to participate in the Special Needs Scholarship Program demonstrates the huge demand for expanded educational options for students with unique learning needs. We look forward to working with families and educators in Wisconsin to make sure every child has the option to a attend a school that works best for him or her, regardless of income or circumstance.”

Details on the Special Needs Scholarship Program:

  • For the coming school year, the number of participating schools will increase from 56 to 84. In the first year of the program, 26 schools participated.
  • Currently, 246 students are being served, a number that is expected to grow significantly.
  • Enrollment for new participants, who must have an Individualized Education Plan for eligibility, begins on July 1.
  • Participating schools must be approved or accredited by the state, comply with federal nondiscrimination requirements, and participate in an annual financial audit.
  • Originally capped at $12,000, the scholarship amount grows at a rate equal to the percentage increase in general school aid to Wisconsin public schools.