Taxpayers’ bill for private voucher schools soars to $350 million

Wisconsin taxpayers will be spending $349.6 million to support private schools this year through the state’s voucher program, up from $302 million last year, according to figures released by the Department of Public Instruction. According to DPI, the taxpayer-funded voucher programs will support a total of 43,450 private school students this year, up from 40,039 students last year.

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Students need more resources and program support, WEAC President Martin says

In response to the release of new standardized test scores, WEAC President Ron Martin said, “At the start of a new school year educators welcome everyone in our communities to discuss how, together, we can address increasing barriers to learning including strapped school budgets, student poverty, trauma and mental health concerns.”

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Report gives Wisconsin’s ‘abysmal’ charter school policies a grade of F

Wisconsin charter school policies are “abysmal” and deserve a grade of F, according to a new report card from the National Education Association. The report – titled State Charter Laws: NEA Report Card – zeroes in on the weak regulation and lax oversight that enable for-profit organizations to open and manage charters in most states.

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Voucher and charter schools ‘open the door for discrimination,’ report finds

Congress, federal agencies and state legislatures should adopt laws and regulations that make it clear that private schools and charter schools receiving public tax dollars must “operate in non-discriminatory ways” and cannot exclude some populations from employment and enrollment, according recommendations of a new policy brief. The brief – “How School Privatization Opens the Door for Discrimination” – was co-written by Julie F. Mead, professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It was funded in part by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

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Voucher program enrollment up 8.7 percent, cost soars to $302 million

Enrollment in Wisconsin’s three taxpayer-funded private school voucher programs rose 8.7 percent this year, while the cost soared 12.3 percent to $302 million, according to a report released Tuesday by the Department of Public Instruction. Across the three programs (Milwaukee, Racine and statewide), 39,381 students received a voucher to attend one of the 279 participating private schools. That is an increase of 3,164 students and 43 schools compared to last school year. The cost of the three programs combined is estimated at $302 million for the 2018-19 school year, which is an increase of about $33 million (12.3 percent) from the prior year.

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$269 million in taxpayer money has been given to private voucher schools so far this biennium

Democrats on the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee released a memo from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau revealing that private voucher schools in Wisconsin have received $269.6 million in state funding so far in the 2017-19 biennium, while public schools have seen a $90.6 million reduction in state aid.

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