Janet Bewley
Press Release

GOP Shortchanges 854,000 Students to Benefit Voucher Operators

Bewley noted that even including categorical aids, public schools will likely see virtually no biennial increase compared to the recession-era budget of 2009-10.

By - Jun 23rd, 2016 10:07 am

MADSON – Cutting state general aid for public schools and shifting the money to voucher schools demonstrates the need to restore Wisconsin’s public education as a priority, State Senator Janet Bewley (D-Delta) said today.

“School’s out and once again students and educators in Wisconsin’s public schools have given us much to be proud of. Unfortunately current legislative leaders haven’t given us much to be proud of in their support of public education,” Bewley said. “After five years of neglect and giveaways to unaccountable voucher schools, our public school students have seen general aid supporting their education cut by over $200 each. Our children get cut but voucher school operators are getting nearly $1000 more per student from state taxpayers than in 2011.”

Bewley, a member of the Senate Education Committee, pointed out that voucher schools had seen a 14% increase in state aid per student since 2011 while the state’s 854,000 public school students took a 4% cut in general and high poverty aid.

“It’s outrageous that public school students in a state that values public education have faced these cuts and property taxpayers have too often been asked to make up the difference,” Bewley said. “It’s even more outrageous that funds that could support our successful but struggling public schools are instead being directed to huge increases for voucher operators that continue to refuse accountability.”

General aid appropriations, which also reduce the property tax portion of the school levy, are nearly $250 million less in the current state budget than 2009-11. The same budget that is shortchanging public school students will give a $221 million increase to voucher operators this biennium compared to the 2009-11 budget.

“State support for public education is our responsibility. My Republican colleagues have made the choice to shortchange public school students while lavishing huge increases on voucher operators and that is simply wrong,” Bewley said.

Bewley noted that even including categorical aids, public schools will likely see virtually no biennial increase compared to the recession-era budget of 2009-10 because of a diversion of state aid to voucher schools.

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10 thoughts on “GOP Shortchanges 854,000 Students to Benefit Voucher Operators”

  1. Barb- West Bend says:

    Are voucher schools financially accountable to the public? How about the academic standards at voucher schools. Do they match the standards required by Public Schools?

  2. AG says:

    Convenient she doesn’t mention that Voucher’s cost more then a third (in some cases almost half) the amount that regular public school students do.

  3. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    AG- You mean that voucher schools cost state taxpayers 20-30% MORE PER STUDENT than public schools? If you read the memo, you would gave seen that.

    And the state aid per student keeps going up for vouchers, and down for publics. That is theft, plain and simple.

  4. WashCoRepub says:

    So if the voucher program is expanded, thus reducing enrollment in public schools, we wouldn’t expect the corresponding decrease in net public school spend vs. voucher school spend?

    I think we would. Not exactly an unexpected outcome of a decision made by the duly elected Legislature.

  5. AG says:

    No Jake, the cost for a voucher student is less than any traditional public school student. Last I checked, voucher schools get $7400 or $7600 per student. MPS meanwhile spends something like $13,000 per student.

  6. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    Nice try AG, but youre mixing apples and oranges. The public school number is ALL costs, while voucher schools only reveal the state aid part of that cost, and pay more per student using sources like tuition and donations.

    Oh, you can’t find total cost to educate from vouchers? Yeah, funny how that works. But we do know they use more state aid per student, that’s documented.

    And WashCoRepub- Obviously you’ve never budgeted or run a business. Public schools will stay regardless of number of students, and they still need buildings to operate in and teachers to teach. But the cost per student will likely go up with fewer students around.

    Oh, and now your cultural cesspool in the 262 has to make up the difference in voucher kids leaving through higher property taxes and lower property values (because why would you live in Washington County if the schools go to crap?). SUCKER

  7. Milwaukee Native says:

    One of the worst cons of some voucher schools is to collect the state aid allotted per student at the beginning of the semester and then dump students–for any reason–as soon as those payments are awarded. The student has no recourse but to go back to a public school, which then must educate that student after having lost that allocation. The unaccountable voucher provider gets to keep those “bonus” payments.

  8. WashCoRepub says:

    …”cultural cesspool in the 262…”

    Now that cracked me up. Hey, isn’t that my late-model car parked outside, unlocked, that’s still there 12 hours later? Why yes it is!

    It’s a real ‘hellhole’ out here, let me tell you. (Credit to Spinal Tap, of course). Demand for housing in the WOW counties should go even higher now that the Supremes had their final say on Milwaukee residency rules.

  9. tom D says:

    AG, As I read the data, the State paid $5,915 for each voucher student last school year (2014-15), and only $5,108 for each public school student this year (2015-16).

    I admit the two years I cited were different, but one year can’t bridge so wide a gulf.

  10. Jake formerly of the LP says:

    Tom D- You’re leaving out that the GOP Legislature gave a huge raise to that per-student payment for vouchers in 2015-16. State taxpayers now shell out $7,214 per student for K-8 and $7,840 for a HS student. The gap is much higher today.

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