Pleasant Ridge Waldorf School has applied to participate in the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program (WPCP) for the 2021-22 school year. This innovative program helps increase access to private and independent education by providing a tuition-free education to qualifying families via a school voucher system. The enrollment window for families to apply to the WPCP for the 2021-22 school year is Feb. 1 to April 15. Families who meet eligibility requirements and are interested in Waldorf education are encouraged to apply.
WPCP increases educational opportunities for families for whom private or independent education would otherwise be out of reach. First implemented in the City of Milwaukee, the program expanded to include the entire state of Wisconsin in 2013. Currently there are 307 Wisconsin private and independent schools registered for the 2021-22 school year, an increase of 27 schools from the previous school year. Once a family is accepted into the program, the Choice school receives a state aid payment for each eligible child in lieu of tuition.
Eligibility requirements are determined by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and are based on Wisconsin residency, maximum household income, age of student, and prior year school attendance. According to the DPI, the following students are eligible to apply for a Choice seat (provided residency and income requirements are also met):
- New students entering Kindergarten (age 4 by 9/1/21) this fall.
- New students entering Grades 1-6 this fall.
- Current PRWS kindergarten students (age 4 by 9/1/21).
Established 41 years ago, PRWS is unique among Waldorf (and private/independent schools in general) schools in that it provides a majority of its families with reduced tuition via an income-informed tuition adjustment process. Yet the prospect of paying tuition, however reduced, still prevents some families from moving forward with enrollment and experiencing the beauty of Waldorf education for themselves.
Dan Brown, PRWS parent and member of the school’s Finance and Investment Committees, guided the inquiry process that led PRWS to pursue a Choice School designation. Brown states, “We found that many of the families already coming toward us would financially qualify for the Choice program. We felt it was imperative and our responsibility as a school to ensure equitable access to all educational options in our region.
“Becoming a Choice school upholds our mission to provide a full Waldorf education accessible to all, and would have a four-fold benefit: to our new and current families, our faculty and staff, the school itself, and our surrounding community,” remarks Carrie Treviranus, PRWS fifth-grade teacher and School Choice Committee member.
Parents of students not currently enrolled at PRWS will also need to complete the standard admissions process (school tour, application, classroom visit, and meeting with teachers). Contact Jordan Brudos, Enrollment Coordinator, to arrange these next steps at 608-637-7828 or [email protected].