ACLU files complaint over voucher program

    The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice charging Milwaukee’s voucher program discriminates against students with disabilities.
    The ACLU of Wisconsin’s Karyn Rotker said there is a systematic problem in the program in which voucher schools are not admitting or are expelling children with disabilities, increasing segregation and isolation of those children within MPS.
    The budget approved by the Joint Finance Committee lifts the enrollment cap for the Milwaukee program and expands it to the entire county.
    The complaint names the Department of Public Instruction, the state and two voucher schools.
    DPI spokesman Patrick Gasper said the agency will cooperate with an investigation, and noted there are “large discrepancies” between Milwaukee Public Schools and choice schools in their special education needs populations.
    School Choice Wisconsin says the complaint includes "numerous errors and omits key facts."
    The ACLU alleges 1.6 percent of voucher school students have disabilities, but School Choice Wisconsin said about 9 percent of choice students have special needs and that number may be even higher.


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