GOP giving up on voucher school accountability
Waste, fraud and abuse in taxpayer-subsidized program to continue
MADISON – Republicans appear unable to reach a consensus to reign in waste, fraud and abuse in Gov. Walker’s taxpayer-subsidized voucher program. According to media sources, Republican leaders plan to move forward with Gov. Walker’s voucher expansion without addressing the need for more taxpayer accountability protections.
Led by Sen. Nikiya Harris Dodd (D-Milwaukee) and Rep. Sondy Pope (D-Cross Plains), Democrats introduced legislation early this session to strengthen academic performance measures and prevent cases of waste, fraud and abuse that have come to light since Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans expanded the voucher program statewide in 2013.
“It is disappointing that Republican leaders continue to block commonsense reforms to prevent waste, fraud and abuse in Gov. Walker’s taxpayer-subsidized voucher program,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse). “Given that this issue was such a high-priority for legislators, I had hoped we would be able to find common ground, hold voucher schools more accountable and protect Wisconsin students and taxpayers.”
Over the past decade, more than fifty taxpayer-subsidized private schools have been kicked out of the voucher program for issues ranging from financial mismanagement and fraud to student health and safety concerns. Under Senate Bill 3, taxpayer-subsidized voucher schools would be required to hire licensed teachers, conduct staff background checks, meet state graduation standards and be located in Wisconsin.
“Democrats remain committed to working with Republicans to prevent further waste, fraud and abuse in the taxpayer-subsidized voucher program,” Shilling concluded. “In order to strengthen Wisconsin communities and improve economic outcomes, we need to invest in our public schools and stop the expansion of unaccountable and underperforming voucher schools.”