The number of low-income children receiving state-funded vouchers to attend private schools jumped by over 10 percent last fall.
The number of vouchers increased after Gov. Scott Walker and the Legislature eased a number of restrictions on the 22-year-old voucher program.
According to Milwaukee's Public Policy Forum, just over 23,000 students received tax-funded vouchers to attend 114 private schools in Milwaukee County and Racine last fall. It was a 2,200 increase from a year ago, when only Milwaukee city youngsters were in the program.
The Republicans in control of the Legislature eliminated enrollment caps and raised income limits, so a family of four making $67,000 a year could join the program.
The report also said about half of the voucher schools would have had drops in their total enrollment if it wasn't for the program. The vouchers began in 1990 in an effort to help inner-city kids escape poverty.
Many Democrats and the Milwaukee teachers' union have long said the program drains funds from the public schools, without a notable increase in performance by voucher students.
The Public Policy Forum's report cited last spring's test scores, before the changes were made. They showed that voucher students failed to score higher than Milwaukee Public School kids in reading and math.