Enterprise on the 

Education beat

Kevin Crowe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel  @kcrowebasspro , kcrowe@jrn.com


Chronic Absenteeism


  • Request data for attendance rates by school, not just by district.


  • Districts and schools keep lists of students who miss a lot of school.


  • Chronic truancy hurts in a few major ways:
    • Kids miss out on an education
    • Schools miss out on per-pupil funding

    Who's responsible for keeping kids in school?



Empty-Desk Epidemic

Chicago Tribune, FOIA Award Winner

Public Cash to Private Schools

  • Some states have voucher programs that pay for students to attend private schools. 


  • In Milwaukee County, the voucher program resurrected a private school system that was hemorrhaging students:

    • 2 out of 3 students in private schools here attend with the help of a taxpayer-funded voucher.


    • About a quarter of the schools in the program had 100% of their students on vouchers, and a majority had more than 90% on vouchers.

Where to look for information

  • 990s for the nonprofits:
    • Some salary information -- executive directors
    • Overall budget and asset information
    • Overall expenditure information: How much to they spend on teachers, meals, transportation, etc.

  • Budget documents on file with your state's Dept. of Ed:
    • Could yield information on contracts: We found an exec. director who created a bus company, then gave himself a $200k/year contract to transport students. 

  • Current and former employees

  • PARENTS

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By Kevin Crowe

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