Scott Fitzgerald
Press Release

Fitzgerald: Democrats’ Red Herring Attack on School Choice

Less than three percent of total state spending on schools goes to Wisconsin’s choice program.

By - Jun 27th, 2016 03:27 pm

[Madison, WI] Last week, Wisconsin Democrats released a series of attacks on Wisconsin’s school choice program, arguing that recent reforms have increased spending on voucher students at the expense of Wisconsin’s public schools. Not only did this argument use incomplete data to attempt to describe funding totals for recent years, but this comparison intentionally ignores the facts, presenting an apples-to-oranges comparison of two very different funding mechanisms.

We wanted a full picture of Wisconsin’s K-12 education spending and requested the attached memo from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau. This memo revealed a much more accurate picture of how much Wisconsin truly spends on voucher students. For the most recent school year (2015-16):

Total State Spending on Public Schools: $10,099,200,000
Total State Spending on School Choice: $229,900,000
Percentage of State School Spending on Choice: 2.2%

Yes, you’re reading that right. Less than three percent of total state spending on schools goes to Wisconsin’s choice program—and this figure doesn’t even include federal aid, which only goes to public schools.

If this weren’t enough, the most recently available enrollment totals (2014-15) demonstrate how many children currently participate in the choice program:

Number of Pupils in Public Schools: 854,419
Number of Pupils in Choice Schools: 28,399
Percentage of Pupils Enrolled in Choice Schools: 3.2%

So while choice school participants make up 3.2% of total K-12 pupil enrollment, they only make up around 2% of the total state cost of K-12 education. Perhaps state democrats will keep these figures in mind the next time they want to attack the small percentage of Wisconsin families trying to provide a better educational opportunity for their children.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) represent the 13th Senate District, which covers portions of Dodge, Jefferson, Waukesha, Washington, Dane, and Columbia counties.

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68 thoughts on “Fitzgerald: Democrats’ Red Herring Attack on School Choice”

  1. happyjack27 says:

    That’s not how you do the math there.
    You can’t just say 3% are in school voucher and the program cost 2% so that’s 2/3rds of the cost per student.

    Doesn’t work that way. Try again.

  2. AG says:

    That document is filled with old data and misleading statements. Taxpayers spend nearly half as much on Milwaukee voucher students than they do for MPS students. Spending for a voucher student ranges from $7200-7800ish and spending for an MPS student costs over $13,000.

    There are some added costs for special needs students that many voucher schools can’t accommodate, but it’s also known that MPS labels many many students as special needs who are not actually special needs and get taught just fine in other districts or voucher schools if they transfer and are not labeled as such.

  3. happyjack27 says:

    Voucher costs are generally based on the per-student expenditure for tuition at a private
    school. These estimates do not include the “hidden” costs of administration, record
    keeping, information dissemination, transportation and services provided to private
    school students at public school levels. Conservative estimates in 1998 placed costs for a
    national voucher program at $73 billion—25% above the annual national public
    education budget.

    “Educational Vouchers: Effectiveness, Choice and Costs,” Henry M. Levin, Journal of Policy Analysis and
    Management, Vol. 17, No. 3, 373-392 (1998), p. 387.

  4. Vincent Hanna says:

    People on each side of the school choice argument tend to cherry pick data and only emphasize what supports their beliefs while ignoring anything that doesn’t. It’s an endless cycle.

  5. Barb- West Bend says:

    “…The small percentage of Wisconsin families trying to provide a better educational opportunity for their children.”

    If standard testing of all students across all the “Choices” does not occur, how can parents determine that the schools they choose are the best? How can taxpayers determine if their tax dollars are being spent appropriately? Some Choice schools are here today and gone tomorrow. That must be difficult for those students and parents who thought they made the best choice for their children. Plus, taxpayers are “out” the money. Did Milton Friedman predict this would be a consequence of privatizing schools?

  6. happyjack27 says:

    Vincent, that is called the false equivalence fallacy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_equivalence

  7. Vincent Hanna says:

    Thanks for the link but I know what false equivalency is. I don’t think everyone does it happyjack, but lots of people do. I’m not a fan of school choice, but this is a contentious issue and some people on both sides of it are guilty of ignoring things that don’t align with their viewpoint. That’s true of a lot of issues.

  8. happyjack27 says:

    Yes all issues — well most issues – have some people on each side who do x. But that tells us nothing at all useful about the issue. The law of averages. Big whoop. Tell me something I don’t know. Preferably something that’s actually relevant to the issue, (Which does not include what some people do.)

  9. happyjack27 says:

    Short version: it’s also an ad hominem fallacy http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Argumentum_ad_hominem , (broader category: irrelevance fallacy)

  10. Vincent Hanna says:

    Gee whiz happyjack I have no idea what you do and don’t know. I guess I could take a survey. What don’t you know about school choice?

  11. Vincent Hanna says:

    Hey look wikipedia. That always makes me take people more seriously.

  12. happyjack27 says:

    i don’t get why you’re asking that question.

    i just pointed out that you made a false equivalence and ad hominem fallacy.

    how do you come to the conclusion that the logical next step is for you to ask me what i know about school choice?

  13. happyjack27 says:

    And now you’re adding a third fallacy, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_authority .

  14. happyjack27 says:

    err… sorry. that was genetic fallacy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_fallacy

  15. Vincent Hanna says:

    Man get your fallacies and links straight. Cripes.

  16. Vincent Hanna says:

    OK back to topic at hand. In the very first sentence Fitzgerald makes clear that he is responding to a claim that spending on voucher schools has risen over time, but then he never actually states whether or not that is true. So is it true or not?

  17. happyjack27 says:

    The memo that he cites ( http://urbanmilwaukee.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/27-Fitzgerald-CP.pdf ) shows a recent increase in spending on voucher schools. So the data he received back from his query does indeed support “Wisconsin Democrats'” claims that ” spending on voucher schools has risen over time”.

  18. Vincent Hanna says:

    OK figured as much. And at the same time that spending on voucher schools has increased, spending on public schools has gone down?

  19. happyjack27 says:

    the fluctuations within the by-year “state aid plus levy” on that sheet are within a standard deviation, so nothing can be gleaned from that, but the cover letter to the memo explicitly states that:

    “Since the beginning of the Milwaukee private school choice program, the Department of
    Public Instruction (DPI) has been required by law to reduce the general aid for which the
    Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) is eligible in each year by a percentage of the estimated total
    cost of the program. ”

    So yes, there is a direct casual relationship between increase in voucher school funding and decrease in public school funding, required, according to the cover sheet, by law. And since voucher spending has increased, it follows that public spending is less than it would have been without the voucher spending. in other words, voucher spending has increased quite literally and casually “at the expense of public school funding”. according to the cover letter that fitzgerald received in response to his query, and cites in his op-ed.

  20. Vincent Hanna says:

    Well I guess it makes sense then that instead of responding to factual claims he pivots and talks about something entirely different. This is a press release after all.

  21. happyjack27 says:

    And he’s a Republican, after all.

  22. happyjack27 says:

    It boggles my mind how someone could write a press release based on a memo that shows them to be wrong and their “opposition” to be correct, while simultaneosuly pretending that they’re right and their “opposition” is wrong.

    “Hey Joe, Sam says the sky is blue. Is the sky really blue?” “Yes.” “This just in, Sam says the grass is orange!”

    Sigh.

    Reminds me of the phrase “Not even wrong.” http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Not_even_wrong

    “It’s as if someone announced his revolutionary discovery that P=NP implies N=1, and then critics soberly replied that, no, the equation P=NP can also be solved by P=0.” —Scott Aaronson (Ah, only us CompSci nerds can fully appreciate the humor there!)

  23. AG says:

    Happy, it is safe to say that increased spending on voucher students could have some effect on spending for public schools. This is especially true when more students leave the public schools and move to voucher schools. That only makes sense. Why would you continue to fund public schools for students who no longer attend?

    For the most part, once you deviate from that, there is little reason to assume the spending is correlated, let alone have a causal relationship. It may be true in Wisconsin that increased voucher programs in recent years has generally gone up while public funding down, but that is easier to explain by the fundamental shifts in school funding going on in the state than just a public vs voucher question.

    That being said, fact remains that it costs tax payers far less to fund voucher schools than public schools. Your citation from an estimate made 20 years ago about national expenditures is irrelevant to Wisconsin where we have hard historical figures to go on.

    Before anyone goes off on the tangent of testing and performance, I highly support standardized tests across all choices of education that include public schools, choice schools, voucher schools, and perhaps in home schooled children. As Barb said, how can parents make informed decisions without a way to directly compare education choices?

  24. happyjack27 says:

    AG, as the memo that Fitzgerald received in response to his request, and which he cites in his press release, states:

    “Since the beginning of the Milwaukee private school choice program, the Department of
    Public Instruction (DPI) has been required by law to reduce the general aid for which the
    Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) is eligible in each year by a percentage of the estimated total
    cost of the program.”

  25. AG says:

    Happy, please reread my first paragraph and answer the question: Why would you continue to fund public schools for students who no longer attend?

    And following that, please address your thoughts on the fact that the cost to tax payers for voucher students is far below that of public schools.

  26. happyjack27 says:

    you said in your second paragraph “For the most part, once you deviate from that, there is little reason to assume the spending is correlated, let alone have a causal relationship”

    i said that spending is required by law to have a causal relationship.
    (besides, you know. the way money works is it doesn’t copy itself)

  27. AG says:

    Yes, but the main reason there is increased spending for the voucher program is because more students are partaking. Thus, that goes back to the first paragraph.

    So again, why would we continue to fund MPS for students who are no longer attending MPS?

  28. happyjack27 says:

    so you accept that there’s a direct casual relation, that “recent reforms have increased spending on voucher students at the expense of Wisconsin’s public schools.” is a 100% true statement.

    now look at the public school enrollment numbers in the memo Fitzgerald received. are they correlated with “choice” enrollment?

  29. Barb-West Bend says:

    Last evening I read a long article in the NYT entitled ” A Sea of Charter Schools in Detroit Leaves” by Kate Zernike. June 28, 2016. More School Choice For Detroit’s Children, Not Better Schools. Michigan leapt at the promise of charters 23 years ago, betting that more competition would improve public education. Instead, old problems grew worse.”

    In Detroit, Charters closing doors mid-year causing parents to scramble to find another charter or a public school for their children to attend. Some children attend a multitude of schools before getting to high school. Charters offer no bus service. Kids getting up at 5:30 am to be at the bus stop at 6:30. If they miss the bus they are late for school, and that has consequences. Kids boarding public buses in unsafe locations. It is a real eye opener to the disaster parents and children face when fly by night charters come into a city and set up for business, and, in some case, offering gifts to parents if they enroll their children in their charter school. Recently I attended a lecture on Charter/Voucher schools in Wisconsin. Do you know that if a child enrolls in a Charter/public school and then that child leaves to attend a public school, the money stays with the Charter/voucher school? The public school must accept that child but gets no money in the year of transfer? Did you know that here in Wisconsin Charter Schools are making noise that they want the same funding as Public schools? In Detroit, it is the Public schools that enroll almost all of the children with disabilities? Milton Friedman was the proponent on privatizing Public schools. He waxed elegant about how much better private schools could do over Public schools. Better teaching, lower costs for taxpayers, profit for businesses. Has this been PROVEN true? I wish he were alive to see what harm his ldeology has created in Detroit. And, it isn’t only about the money, it is the quality of the education that matters more. I believe the idea of choice schools was noble. But taxpayers should be able to ascertain the quality of charter/voucher schools over public schools…and that is not happening. If you can find this NYT article, and you are interested in Choice Schools, read the article. It is a real eye opener.

  30. AG says:

    Why are you avoiding my question? I stated in my first paragraph that if students leave a district for a voucher school that it would reduce funding to the district. Then I asked, why would you pay a district for students who don’t attend? Why are you refusing to answer that question? Can you please give me a good reason why you would fund a district for students that do not attend?

    If MPS had zero students would you still support the billion dollar budget? I doubt it. And don’t even bring up Reductio ad absurdum fallacy because this is a legit argument for the circumstance. Besides, if you don’t know the difference between a causal relationship and a casual one… it degrades your authority on statistical topics (and I pity your significant other).

  31. happyjack27 says:

    AG, look at the attendance numbers in the memo.

  32. Vincent Hanna says:

    Barb doesn’t that echo what’s been going on in New Orleans? After Katrina they essentially turned that entire district into charter schools, and things got no better.

  33. AG says:

    Well, since HappyJack refuses to answer any questions, I guess we’ll move on.

    Barb, first I’d like to point out that Wisconsin and Milwaukee are not Detroit. Do you see those same issues in Milwaukee? I know of one school (at least) that closed, so I can’t say that doesn’t happen… but by in large the controls they have in place seem pretty strict and help keep this and “fly by night” schools from participating (or eliminating them if needed).

    Regarding bussing, first I’d like to point out that school choice is… a choice. They can decide to send their children there or not and if they feel it’s worth sending their child to a school in a far part of the city, I hope they have good reasons for it. Even if they don’t, who am I to try to make those decisions for the parent. Next, you point to, “If they miss the bus they are late for school, and that has consequences. Kids boarding public buses in unsafe locations.” How is this different than school busses or taking public busses to MPS schools?

    Next, you mention that “…if a child enrolls in a Charter/public school and then that child leaves to attend a public school, the money stays with the Charter/voucher school? The public school must accept that child but gets no money in the year of transfer?” This is absolutely not true. Choice schools get paid in 4 payments just like MPS schools. If a child leaves, the next payment based on the time of that child’s enrollment is not paid to the choice school. In addition, public schools receive aid based on a 3 year rolling average. This means schools actually get paid in full or in part for 3 years AFTER the child leaves the public school system. Win = public schools.

    It would be helpful to read articles specifically about Wisconsin and Milwaukee instead of Detroit or other locations. I think Wisconsin did a good job of learning from other programs while at the same time being a leader in the program from the beginning. It’s not perfect, and I want to see better transparency in school performance so parents can accurately compare schools. However, this program gives the CHOICE to parents without costing other taxpayers more money. That’s a great system to me.

  34. AG says:

    Quick clarification, when I said I know of at least one school closing, I meant closing mid-year.

  35. happyjack27 says:

    AG, look at the attendance numbers in the memo. When choice enrollment goes up, does public enrollment go down?

  36. AG says:

    HappyJack, look at the pregnant women and new Milwaukee residents around you. Do you think voucher schools are the only thing affecting enrollment numbers or the amount of aid MPS gets?

  37. Vincent Hanna says:

    Howard Fuller, who has been around from the beginning of school choice and is pretty famous nationwide for his role in it, disagrees with you AG. Why hasn’t it been more successful, including in Milwaukee?

    “I think a lot of us education reformers — and I include myself — have been too arrogant,” he said. “It’s not even what you do sometimes, it’s the way you treat people in the process of doing it. If your approach is to get a lot of smart people in the room and figure out what ‘these people’ need and then we implement it, the first issue is who decided that you were smart? And why do you think you can just get into a room and make decisions for a community of people?” (quoted in The Prize)

    Fuller also has major problems with the voucher program. “I appreciate what the governor had to say and I understand the importance of the middle class,” Fuller told the group minutes after Walker’s speech. “But I just want to say to you all, as clearly as I can, that the poorest people in our society are the ones who need the help the most. And at no point in time—I don’t care how politically fashionable it becomes: I will never give up raising a voice for the poorest parents.” http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14806-walker-lauded-for-education-privatization-in-dc.html

  38. happyjack27 says:

    AG, by law when enrollment for choice goes up, aid for public schools goes down, irrespective of enrollment for public schools. That memo shows the specific aid reduction each year, in millions.

    Furthermore, not all enrollment in choice are from people previously enrolled in public school. Most of it is for people who were already enrolled in private school.

  39. AG says:

    Vincent, I actually appreciate that first quote. I feel the same way, except that who are the “smart” people that get to decide that MPS is the best choice for parents or students? Having choice and voucher schools gives the decision to the parents and saves tax payers to boot!

    Regarding that second statement, I am disappointed he only finds the poor worthy of the choice for parents on how their children should be educated. I would feel differently if it was costing taxpayers more money to send children to choice and voucher schools. In that case, if you can afford to do it yourself, then you should. However, since it saves tax payers money, by all means if you want to send your kid somewhere else and I save on my taxes… wuhoo!

    As a Milwaukee resident who will have to make the decision in a few years on where my children will go to school, who is anyone else to make that decision for me? Frankly, at this time, the voucher option is the only reason I haven’t moved to a suburb yet.

    Further more, all these arguments about funding are a load of BS. Anyone who really cared about tax payer money would support the choice program. Let’s cut to the chase, they only care about the money flowing to MPS… and it’s not for the children’s sake that they care.

  40. Vincent Hanna says:

    OK sure AG. Let’s cut all the BS. Can we also stop pretending that conservatives care about poor brown kids and that’s the only reason they support school choice? Otherwise, you have very selective and limited outrage blinded by your feelings about school choice.

  41. AG says:

    happyjack27, AGAIN…. WHY would MPS keep the aid if the student leaves the district??? If enrollment otherwise goes up, the aid would go up for that portion of the additional enrollment.

    Here is how math works: 100 students in a district. 10 leave for voucher schools. 5 students move to district from another district. You now have 95 students in the district.

    Now tell me, why would you still pay for 100 or 105 students? That is what you are advocating.

    Regarding your other statement, I’m assuming you’re talking Wisconsin’s program and not Milwaukee. In which case, it was about half previously attended and the education was paid for by parents, a quarter attended private already but were receiving vouchers, and about a quarter were public students that transferred. But in reality, that number is statistically small in relation to the attendance of any district outside Milwaukee and would have little actual impact on their taxes. But you dont’ really care about taxes… do you?

  42. AG says:

    Vincent, I’d bet there’s more legislators in the surrounding areas of Milwaukee that actually (maybe even desperately) care about improving Milwaukee’s education system than there are leaders of the choice opposition who actually care about anything to a greater extent than who gets paid to run schools.

  43. happyjack27 says:

    AG, i’m not advocating anything. you just made that advocation up and then put my name on it. you’re attacking a straw man who is not me. and it looks pretty silly.

    Here is how math works:
    100 students in public school.
    10 people who are already in private school get a voucher.
    now you have 100 students in public school.

    why would you pay for only 90 of 100 students?

  44. AG says:

    Happyjack, my conclusion that you support paying districts for students who don’t attend the district comes from the fact that you refuse to tell me why it should be any other way, even though I’ve asked about 7 times.

    Side note, your example is not what is happening in Milwaukee and the statewide numbers are WAY too small to have an actual significant impact on any particular district.

    Now back to your post #20 and #25. Why in the world would they NOT reduce funding eligibility for MPS if the students attend a voucher school instead of MPS?

  45. happyjack27 says:

    In that case, I won’t tell you that grass is green.

  46. happyjack27 says:

    Why in the world would they NOT reduce funding eligibility for MPS if the students attend a voucher school instead of MPS?

    Because new students entered the public school, thus cancelling out the effect keeping the overall public enrollment the same.

    a-b+b=a.

  47. AG says:

    You’re missing an important part of the equation, HappyJack. When new students enter the district, the district gets the aid for those students.

  48. happyjack27 says:

    You asked “Why in the world would they NOT reduce funding eligibility for MPS if the students attend a voucher school instead of MPS?”

    That is the question that I answered.

  49. AG says:

    You answered a made up scenario since apparently you didn’t account for the fact that MPS gets added aid eligibility for the added students that replaced the voucher students.

  50. happyjack27 says:

    I answered your question since apparently you didn’t account for other reasons that enrollment numbers might change.

  51. AG says:

    happyjack27, if you don’t want to have a real discussion that’s fine… but you’re doing a disservice to anyone who really wants to understand how these things work.

  52. Barb- West Bend says:

    Ag- Thanks for your comments.

    As you stated, the article I referred to in my comment was on Choice schools in Detroit. And, I have read about the takeover of Public schools in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. I believe there is some changes going on in New Orleans now. I do realize that Milwaukee’s situations is not the same as elsewhere. My questions are: How do parents in Milwaukee decide which school is right for their children when there is so little detailed/comparison information easily available to the public? Do all schools give public accounting as to how they use taxpayers money? Do all Charter and Voucher schools have boards, or the equivalent, where parents and citizens can make comments and ask questions in an arena that is open to all? I believe Public school systems have school boards with duly elected members who are open and accountable to the public. What is required of a Charter/voucher school to set up business in Milwaukee? Do children with disabilities have a choice…or may Charter/ Voucher Schools refuse children with disabilities?

    AG- you mention that you are considering having your children attend a voucher school. How will you determine which voucher school is best?

    Looks like I will need to spend hours “googling” for answers.

  53. happyjack27 says:

    Great, and now you’re insulting me again. I don’t know why I put up with you.

    if you want a real discussion then maybe you should ask people what they think instead of asking rhetorical questions to straw men.

  54. happyjack27 says:

    …and rhetorical questions that are fatally oversimplified, to boot.

  55. AG says:

    Barb, I think a lot of your answers can be found at http://www.schoolchoicewi.org (keep in mind the source, they are biased in support of choice schools)

    Regarding our research on the vouchers, during this discussion when I was double checking facts, I realized the income limits were lower than I thought they were for a family of 4 so we don’t qualify. That being said, I’d only consider a school that had transparent WKCE (or badger testing… whatever schools are doing these days) where I could compare apples to apples. Although I also found out that schools that opt out of testing is far fewer than I assumed too.

    You bring up a lot of valid questions and thoughts on the topic!

  56. happyjack27 says:

    Now that you finally understand (it seems) the answer to your tangential oversimplified rhetorical question to a straw man,
    namely, there are other sources for changes in enrollment numbers.

    Perhaps we can finally proceed…

    From an Urban Milwaukee article earlier this year:

    “A headcount recently released by the Wisconsin Department of Instruction (DPI) shows 75 percent of the students enrolled under the WPCP were already enrolled in a private school, and only 19 percent of students enrolled under the new program are coming from public schools. But the state provides the funding for the choice program through reductions in state aid to the district of any student enrolled under the new program, which means that 81 percent of the time there is no savings for the district from a student transfer, yet its state funding has been reduced.”

    http://urbanmilwaukee.com/2016/01/04/schools-challenged-by-declining-state-aid/

  57. AG says:

    Happyjack, you decided to end the conversation by playing games. There was no sense in continuing the conversation. Now you continue to peddle misleading information. Ignoring the fact that they are including previous year voucher students, the bigger issue is that you’re wrong about funding being reduced 81% of the time.

    All these Wisconsin districts have the aid for these students ADDED first, then the district pays the voucher school. In the end, these districts added through the statewide expansion see no change to their budget for any student who was already enrolled in a voucher school. The only ones to lose funding were those who saw a student leave the district (the 19%). Which brings us back to the question: why would they get funding for a student that they don’t serve?

  58. happyjack27 says:

    Not playing games AG. You were the one asking a fatally oversimplified rhetorical question to a straw man. Despite that, I answered it almost immediately, but you steadfastly refused to look at the answer all the while claiming that I wasn’t answering. And now you accuse me of playing games? Oh, that’s rich!

    And now you immediately go back to talking to your straw man. Who I already told you is not me. And you think I’M avoiding a discussion? I seem to be the only one here trying to talk to real people.

  59. Ag says:

    The over simplification is the statement that vouchers reduce funding. Usually it’s because less students are attending the public schools. The question is: so what? Why does it matter?

    Is that better?

  60. happyjack27 says:

    Since the beginning of the Milwaukee private school choice program, the Department of
    Public Instruction (DPI) has been required by law to reduce the general aid for which the
    Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) is eligible in each year by a percentage of the estimated total
    cost of the program.

  61. AG says:

    Milwaukee’s funding mechanisms and Wisconsin’s expansion have different funding mechanisms.

  62. happyjack27 says:

    So you’re not denying that, in Milwaukee, vouchers reduce funding?

  63. AG says:

    Seriously HappyJack? I never denied it. Go read first two paragraphs of post #24.

  64. happyjack27 says:

    The first two paragraphs are where you deny it.

    Topic sentence of your second paragraph: “For the most part, once you deviate from that, there is little reason to assume the spending is correlated, let alone have a causal relationship.”

  65. Ag says:

    Paragraph #1: Students attending voucher schools redirect funds from MPS to MPCP, which is only logical since money follows student.

    Paragraph #2: Other than that, there’s no other significant relationship between funding levels of MPS and MPCP.

  66. happyjack27 says:

    “Happy, it is safe to say that increased spending on voucher students could have some effect on spending for public schools. This is especially true when more students leave the public schools and move to voucher schools. That only makes sense. Why would you continue to fund public schools for students who no longer attend?”

    You said COULD have an effect. You deny causality here. Further you say that that the (unofficial) rule is that when a student a) leaves public to b) join private, the funds move. But this is not the rule, nor is it a loose rule, it’s a law. And the law is that an increase i voucher spending produces a decrease in public school spending, regardless of anything else, including regardless of whether public school enrollment is affected.

    “For the most part, once you deviate from that, there is little reason to assume the spending is correlated, let alone have a causal relationship” It may be true in Wisconsin that increased voucher programs in recent years has generally gone up while public funding down, but that is easier to explain by the fundamental shifts in school funding going on in the state than just a public vs voucher question.”

    here in your second paragraph you continue to deny any causal relationship. The causal relationship is that when choice funding goes up, state aid goes down. period.

    The numbers are right there in the memo,

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