Vouchers-plus: Publicity helps private school
JANESVILLE/BELOIT—Being one of the state's voucher-expansion schools has benefits beyond the state money and new students, a local school has found.
Rock County Christian School Administrator Tim Befus said some families that were disappointed because they were not chosen for a voucher will attend the school, anyway.
Rock County Christian has an “aggressive” tuition-assistance program, and it offered help to disappointed parents who didn't get vouchers, Befus said. As a result, some of those students will be enrolled when school starts Wednesday.
Rock County Christian had 102 applicants for vouchers—one of the highest numbers in the state. The state had 500 vouchers to distribute.
Rock County Christian and 24 other schools around the state were guaranteed 10 vouchers each under state rules.
That left 250 more vouchers to be distributed by random drawing. Rock County Christian ended up with 29 vouchers. One of those families has decided not to enroll at the school.
Twenty-six vouchers have been confirmed, and the parents of two more students probably will take the vouchers, Befus said.
The vouchers that are not used statewide go into another drawing, so there's a chance Rock County Christian will get more vouchers yet this year, Befus said.
Befus found out who got the vouchers last week and called the families.
“They were very happy calls, some to the point of tears. They were very happy,” Befus said.
Befus also called those who didn't get vouchers, he said, and some of those were quite disappointed.
Of the 29 vouchers, 11 were for students who attended Rock County Christian last year, Befus said. The remaining 18 had been public-school students, in the Beloit, Clinton and Janesville districts, Befus said, but he did not know how many were from each.
Befus said the school has plenty of room for the new students, and class sizes will not exceed 15 at the middle/high school in Beloit. Classes will average 11 or 12 at the elementary school in Janesville, he said.
Befus said some disappointed voucher applicants decided they could not afford tuition even with the school's help. One mother who couldn't make it work in her budget told Befus she would try again for a voucher next year.
The vouchers program doubles to 1,000 slots next year.