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Private school closures cost taxpayers

Once again the expansion of taxpayer-funded private schools in Wisconsin is in the headlines.

In February, private and religious schools will begin the application process to join over 120 other private and religious schools that are now subsidized by taxpayers.

On Dec. 12, Life Skills Academy, a Christian taxpayer-funded voucher school in Milwaukee, closed its doors without notifying anyone and moved to Florida to set up another taxpayer-funded private school, according to published media reports.

One out of 66 students tested proficient in reading or math. Sixty-six students have had their education disrupted and will need remedial work after falling behind at LSA as they move back to Milwaukee public or other schools.

LSA received more than $2 million in taxpayer money since 2008, more than $633,248 in 2012-2013, and over $100,000 in 2013-2014.

Neither Taron Monroe nor her husband Rodney Monroe had teaching certificates or experience operating a school funded with taxpayer money.

Forty-six to 50 taxpayer-funded voucher schools have closed in the last ten years, impacting the education of hundreds of students and their families, and costing Wisconsin taxpayers millions of dollars.

Washington Dubois Christian Leadership Academy closed in mid-December at a cost of $200,000 to taxpayers this school year. Other taxpayer-funded private schools that closed recently include Mandella School of Science and Math, L.E.A.D.E.R. School, and Harambee Community School.

The Department of Public Instruction has very little authority to monitor the taxpayer-funded private schools because of legislative action. The DPI cannot recoup any of the money.