October 23, 2014

Districts could lose aid under voucher plan

A new report from the state’s Legislative Fiscal Bureau shows nine Wisconsin school districts could each lose up to $1.4 million in state aid under Governor Scott Walker’s proposal to expand private school vouchers. The maximum losses would occur if 110 students in each district take tax-funded vouchers to go to private schools.

The bureau said each school system could make up for part of the losses by raising local property taxes anywhere from $123,000 to $341,000.

Governor Walker has argued more kids need the type of private school choice that low-income kids in Milwaukee have had for two decades and it would give more kids in under-performing public schools a chance for a better education. Critics argue voucher schools have not lived up to the promises that were made when the program was started and Walker’s expansion would only weaken public schools.

The Governor’s budget would allow for the expansion of school vouchers to large districts that are failing to meet certain performance standards. Currently, it would apply to Madison, Green Bay, Kenosha, Waukesha, West Allis, Sheboygan, Fond du Lac, Beloit, and Superior.