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Conservatively Speaking

State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.

Audit: Virtual Schools

Audits

 

The Legislative Audit Bureau Tuesday released its audit of Wisconsin's Virtual School program.  Some highlights:

 

  • The number of students enrolled in virtual schools increased from 265 in the 2002-03 school year to 3,127 in the 2008-08 school year.  Before the start of the 2009-10 school year, 5,074 students told DPI that they would attend a virtual school.

 

  • A bill passed last session – 2007 Act 222 – caps the statewide number of students allowed to enroll in virtual schools at 5,250.  The Audit Bureau predicts we will hit that cap in the near future.

 

  • Virtual school students scored higher than average on standardized reading tests, but generally lower math scores. 

 

  • Over 90% of students, teachers, parents and guardians involved with a virtual school reported their satisfaction with virtual schools.

 

  • Online learning is becoming more and more common, even in traditional brick-and-mortar schools.

 

  • The per-student cost of education, statewide, was $10,220 in 2007-08.  Adding in transportation, facility, and food service costs, that number rises to $12,155.  Virtual schools spent $6,032 per student that same year.

 

Virtual schools are a growing and valuable addition to public education in Wisconsin, not to mention an option of fast-growing demand among students and families.  State law will soon have to catch up.

 

You can read the report's highlights here and the full report here.  I look forward to having an Audit Committee hearing on this important and interesting topic soon.

More from the Wisconsin Coalition of Virtual School Families and the Janesville Gazette.

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