BELOIT, Wis. - Families across Wisconsin recently found out if they were selected to take part in the new statewide private school voucher program.
Rock County Christian Schools, one of the 25 new voucher schools, had their first day this week.
Daniel Bradley of Beloit said he was thrilled when he found out his five kids were accepted into the program.
"The main reason is because the class sizes here are a lot smaller. It's more one on one. It's Christian-based. They teach about God. Also, because I think it's a better education for a student who may not be doing well in public school not to get drowned out," said Bradley.
Despite the voucher, Bradley will have to cover uniforms and lunch expenses for his children.
Rock County Christian Schools received 29 vouchers, 28 accepted and started Wednesday.
One family turned down their voucher, meaning that extra seat will be reentered into another random drawing that will take place later this week.
Ten of the vouchers are prior private school students, while the other 18 are new to the system.
They are spread between kindergarten and high school.
Taxpayer-funded private school vouchers have been a controversial subject since they were approved by the state this year.
"Our families have been paying public funds, paying taxes each year that the school's been in existence in 28 years. It's nice to see some of those funds come back to our school finally," said Tim Befus, Rock County Christian Schools Administrator.Voucher students come to class in Beloit
School District of Beloit Superintendent Steve McNeal said the program takes away money from the public system and those who need it most.
However, he doesn't think new voucher students will have a large effect on public school system.
"When you look at the number of kids getting the vouchers and you find out most of those kids didn't attend a public school anyway, we're giving money to students who were never opting to go to public schools," said McNeal.
According to the Department of Public Instruction, 2,069 students applied for the newly expanded private school voucher program, and 503 of them were Wisconsin public school students.
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