Private school accepts 14 new students through parental choice program

A private school is opening its doors to new students through the Wisconsin Parental Choice program, also known as school vouchers. The program allows families to use public tax dollars to pursue a private education at Luther High School.

Luther High originally said it could accept up to 40 students for the 2018-2019 school year. So far, families have been able to send 14 students to the high school because of the program.

“All 14 of them are from families that are members of one of our association congregations,” said Paul Wichmann, principal for Luther High.

Wichman said that the vast majority of these students also attended one of the Lutheran elementary feeder schools.

“In terms of drawing them away from the public schools, that really, in our instance, did not occur,” Wichmann said.

This could be the case for years to come as these feeder schools consider or join the parental choice program. St. John’s Lutheran School in Sparta decided to enroll in it because some families can’t pay for the tuition.

“This gives the parents an opportunity to figure out what’s best for their kids and to make their own choice,” said pastor David Endorf, principal at St. John’s Lutheran School.

Endorf said it gives the school’s 10 new students a Christian-based education and the atmosphere that goes along with it.

“The way we deal with discipline, and our small size and family atmosphere,” Endorf said.

And if these families find this is the best environment for their student to learn, then they may find they can go on to Luther High with a voucher or pursue other financial assistance.

Two other area schools are at the very early stages of considering to join the program. First Evangelical Lutheran School in La Crosse and St. Paul’s in Onalaska both confirm they are exploring the option.