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Lighthouse Christian (copy)

Kindergarten students including Silas Chhum, left, participate last fall in a lesson at Lighthouse Christian School in Madison. The state's voucher school program spends public money on his private school tuition.

The amount of state money spent on each student using a private school voucher has increased by about 14 percent since 2010, according to a recent state memo.

At the same time, the amount of money the state spends on each public school student has decreased by about 4 percent, according to a memo released this week by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau at the request of Sen. Janet Bewley, D-Ashland.

During the 2010-11 school year, the state spent $5,318 per public school student.

This past school year, the state spent $5,108. In that time, the number of public school students decreased from 858,205 to 854,419.

The amount of state money dedicated to each school voucher increased from $6,442 in the 2010-11 school year to $7,214 for students in grades K-8 and $7,860 for high school students this past school year — an increase of about 14 percent when using a weighted average of the K-8 and high school payments, according to the memo.

In that time, the Republican-controlled Legislature expanded school vouchers to include schools in Racine and across the state. Previously, school vouchers were only available to be used by students living in Milwaukee.

The 2015-16 school year was the first year school districts experienced a loss in state aid to pay for students living in district boundaries who were attending private schools using a school voucher. Previously, state general purpose revenue paid for vouchers.

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