As of the passing of Wisconsin’s 2015-17 budget, there are no enrollment caps on any parental choice programs in the state.
However, the WPCP is subject to district enrollment caps. The budget specifies that in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years no more than 1% of the total number of pupils residing in a school district can participate in the WPCP. After the 2016-17, that 1% will increase by an additional percent each year until a 10% threshold is reached in 2025-26. In 2026-27, the program will have no limit on the percent of a district that can participate.
Previous Enrollment Caps
The WPCP was created in the 2013-15 state budget. Initial enrollment caps were set at 500 students for the 2013-14 school year, and 1,000 students for the 2014-15 school year. In the first year over 2,400 students applied. In the second year over 2,400 students applied. This incredible demand influenced the expansion of the program.
Below is a chart that illustrates enrollment in the program for each year. Enrollment is based on the Third Friday in September headcount.
The RPCP was the result of the 2011-13 state budget. For the 2011-12 school year, the enrollment cap was 250 students. participated. The following year, the enrollment cap was set at 500 students.
The RPCP was altered in the 2013-15 budget to remove the enrollment cap.
The chart below shows the growth of the program. Enrollment is based on the Third Friday in September headcount.
When the MPCP was conceived in 1990, the enrollment limit was based on the percent of MPS students leaving the program, and was capped at 1% of MPS’ enrollment. In 1995, this cap was raised to 15%.
In 2005, DPI announced that the MPCP enrollment cap had been reached. Proposed rules to implement a rationing plan for seats in the MPCP were defeated after several choice school administrators argued that no rationing plan could work. As a result, the program switched to an enrollment cap rather than a percentage cap at limited participation to 22,500 students. In the 2011-13 budget, all enrollment caps were removed from the MPCP.
The following chart indicates the enrollment in the program each year. Enrollment is based on the Third Friday in September headcount. The numeric enrollment data can be found here.