***The application period has closed for the 2022-2023 school year.***
St. Paul’s Lutheran School participates in the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program (WPCP). For students who qualify for the WPCP, the state of Wisconsin provides a voucher that pays the student’s tuition in full. The application period begins February 1 and ends April 20 (please note that our staff at St. Paul’s will need proper documentation several days prior to April 20th in order to submit the application).
Current St. Paul’s students entering 4K, Kindergarten, or 1st grade and/or those transferring from another public school or home school at any grade level are eligible.
From the WPCP FAQs:
Each year, parents must complete the online parent application available through the following webpage: https://sms.dpi.wi.gov/ChoiceParent/. Parents must provide residency documentation and income documentation, if applicable, to the school(s) they apply to during the application period or the application is ineligible. Students continuing in any of the Choice programs or on the WPCP waiting list in the prior year do not need to meet the income limits.
New students will have to prove income eligibility. Additionally, applicants for the WPCP will have to indicate which of the prior year school attendance requirements they meet.
Parents/guardians may either: (a) provide their social security numbers or taxpayer identification number and have the Department of Revenue determine whether the student is income eligible for the program; or (b) use the Department of Public Instruction’s income determination method by answering a series of income questions in the on-line parent application and providing paper income documentation to the school(s) as directed in the application during the open application period. The school will verify that the student meets the income requirements.
Applicants must also provide proof of residency directly to the school during the open application period. A student can apply to the Choice program at one or more schools during the open application period.
Is Your Family Eligible for Parental Choice?
To meet the income requirements for the program a student’s family must have an Adjusted Gross Income at or below 220% of the federal poverty level. An additional $7,000 is allowed for a married couple as illustrated in the table below. 2022-23 Adjusted Gross Income limits are:
Family of 2
– Single Parent Family Income = $38,324
Family of 3
– Single Parent Family Income = $48,312
– Married Family Income = $55,312
Family of 4
– Single Parent Family Income = $58,300
– Married Family Income = $65,300
Family of 5
– Single Parent Family Income = $68,288
– Married Family Income = $75,288
Family of 6
– Single Parent Family Income = $78,276
– Married Family Income = $85,276
*Add $9,988 for each additional family member beyond 6
**Income is the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) on the 1040 tax form for 2021
Who gets picked for a voucher through the WPCP?
The state makes the final determination. However, if a student receives a voucher, it may be renewed for the following years. The subsequent applications are much simpler. Only residency verification is needed.
4K is considered an “entry point” in the program. This means all incoming 4K students who meet the income criteria may apply. The cap for vouchers in the 2022-23 school year is 7% of the total enrollment of the school district where the family resides. If more than 7% from the district apply for vouchers, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction randomly selects which eligible students receive vouchers.
Is early application advantageous?
Unlike financial aid, the timing of the application does not give the applicant family an advantage. Those who register near the end of the enrollment period have the same opportunity as those who register early. However, an early application is still recommended to be sure that the state and St. Paul’s receive the correct information.
What happens if more students apply than the seats available?
If more students apply to the WPCP than what St. Paul’s opens, the state of Wisconsin will conduct a lottery to select the students. On occasion, a selected student may decide not to attend. If this happens, an opportunity may be extended to a student at that grade level who was not initially selected.
Does the choice payment cover every St. Paul’s related expense?
No. The choice payment covers tuition and education-related fees in full. For example, lunch and milk costs are not covered by the WPCP. If you have questions, contact St. Paul’s choice administrator for more information.
Is my family automatically in the program once we meet the income and residency requirements of the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program (WPCP)?
Not necessarily. WPCP guidelines are scheduled to allow 7% of the student population of a school district to participate in the program in 2022-23. For example, if a district has 1,000 students, 7% of that total – 70 students – may participate. Keep in mind that all WPCP schools in the area share the 70 students from that district. If the number of applicants from a district exceeds the 7%, a DPI lottery randomly selects which students receive vouchers. This means that some qualified applicants may not be selected.
Am I finished with the process after I have completed the online application?
No. All applicant families must additionally provide two pieces of information to St. Paul’s.
One is proof of residency. This may be a recent utility bill, a cable bill, a tax bill, or another government-issued mailing that proves that the family lives at the location that it claims. Proof of residency is important since the 7% figure mentioned above is determined by this.
Secondly, the family may need to document its financial eligibility. For those using the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) method, this typically means providing their completed and signed 2021 tax forms to Lakeside. For those using the Department of Revenue (DOR) method who did not check it themselves, this means providing the Social Security number(s) of the parent(s) during the application process.
Whichever method the family selects, the online application form informs parents what to provide to St. Paul’s.
Steps to Apply for Parental Choice at St. Paul’s
1. Fill out the online application. The online application needs to be completed through the WPCP website. The application window is open from February 1, 2022 through April 20, 2022.
Note: An e-mail address is required to register. Communications on the status of applications and the steps necessary to complete them will be e-mailed to the parent or legal guardian.
Once an application is electronically submitted, the parent or guardian will be able to correct it online until the final day of the application period. Be sure to record the e-mail address and password that you use. Missing or incorrect information will cause problems processing applications and may cause a student to be ineligible.
2. Provide Proof of Residency. St. Paul’s must be given a copy of ONE of the following documents. The document must be current (within the last 3 months):
- Current water, gas, electric, cable, satellite, or landline phone bill. (Cell phone & internet bills are NOT acceptable).
- Property tax bill or current (signed and dated) lease agreement
- Current wage statement (can be a year-end W2)
- Recent government correspondence. Current benefits statements from access.wisconsin.gov
3. Families applying to the WPCP for the first time need to provide income documentation. St. Paul’s prefers that families select the DOR Method.
DOR Method (Preferred Method): Possibly provide your Social Security Number(s) of parents/guardians to LLHS
DPI Method Documentation (Secondary Method): Acceptable documentation includes:
A copy of the first two pages of your 1040 Federal Income Tax Return for 2021. It needs to be signed and dated by the taxpayers.
If your taxes are not completed, you may submit copies of all 2021 income documentation (employer W2s, 1099s, etc).
If you do not file income tax, you must provide copies of all other income documentation for 2021 (social security statements, unemployment compensation statements, child support statements, etc).
**DPI or DOR?**
There are two methods by which families may determine their financial eligibility:
The DOR (Department of Revenue) method is the preferred one and requires the parent(s) to provide their social security numbers or taxpayer identification numbers during the online application. The parent enters these numbers into the state’s online system and the Wisconsin Department of Revenue determines income eligibility for the program.
The DPI (Department of Public Instruction) method is a series of income questions that are answered in the initial online application. Once completed, the parent(s) must provide hard copies of income documentation to Lakeside as directed in the application. The school then verifies that the student meets the WPCP’s income requirements.
What else should families do?
Know that when the application period closes, St. Paul’s must have all required income and residency documents in its possession. If these materials are not at St. Paul’s by the end of school that day, the application is ineligible. Submitting income and residency documentation well before the April 20 deadline makes it possible for us to follow up if necessary.
Once an application has been made for a Wisconsin Parental Choice Program (WPCP) voucher and the applicant parent has met with St. Paul’s, what’s next?
You wait! The application period lasts until April 20. After the application deadline, St. Paul’s is given until the first week day in May to process its applications. Then, the state Department of Public Instruction takes over. It reviews the school’s online verification and determines how many applicants will receive a “seat” (i.e.: a voucher). Typically, the state notifies verified applicants in late May or early June if they have received a voucher. After that, the parent must notify St. Paul’s within a few days if they accept. If acceptance is not done in this time frame, the voucher offer is withdrawn.
Please call St. Paul’s school office (715-235-9621) or contact Principal Bob Buss (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions about the program.