The statewide voucher program could cost more than a quarter of a billion dollars a year in the future if all eligible students applied-and were able to find seats at private schools willing to participate in the program. Eligibility is determined by enrollment in a public school deemed "failing" for two of four years; 78 schools received an 'F' in 1999-2000 and another 4 schools were graded 'F' a year later. These schools educate about 55,000 students. If all 82 schools were to receive a second 'F' within the four-year period, and all eligible students applied-and were able to find seats at private schools willing to participate in the program-the cost would exceed $280 million annually by the 2003-04 school year.30 Even if only 25% of these students opted to apply, the cost would be $71 million.
A separate voucher program for students with disabilities has cost $5.8 million dollars as of February 2001 to send 1,000 students to private schools, many of which are religious. Critics are concerned that while the program targets disabled students, participating private schools are exempt from special education requirements that public schools must meet.31