$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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Private school voucher backers top $7.5 million in donations to Wisconsin politicians

With the latest round of state campaign finance reports in, backers of the private school voucher program have larded the campaign accounts of politicians willing to do their bidding with $7.5 million in campaign contributions since 2008. Leading the pack, and hauling in more than 1 of every 4 dollars donated, is Governor Scott Walker with a total take in excess of $2.165 million. “The people writing these checks want to see more private school vouchers,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross. “Scott Walker has more than delivered, draining resources away from public K-12 schools and sending them to the less accountable private voucher schools favored by the donors who’ve dumped over $2 million into his campaign coffers.”

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Support for public education is growing ‘community by community,’ Arizona Education Association president says at Wisconsin forum

Advocates for public education will win the fight “community by community,” Arizona Education Association President Joe Thomas said Wednesday in a session at the Wisconsin Public Education Network Summer Summit in Appleton. “You won’t win it at the Capitol,” Thomas said. “You will win it community by community, and it will show up at the Capitol.” Thomas recounted the events surrounding last spring’s massive Arizona walkouts and rallies that led to a 19% increase in teacher salaries and large increases in public school funding. “This was not only an education movement. This was a women’s movement, this was a union movement, this was an equity movement,” he said.

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Evers says his ‘transformational budget’ will fund 4-year-old kindergarten for all students and achieve two-thirds state funding of schools

State Superintendent Tony Evers said Wednesday that he will propose a “transformational budget” that provides full funding of 4-year-old kindergarten and achieves the state’s longtime commitment of funding two-thirds the cost of local public schools “without any gimmicks while holding the line on taxes.” … “No more false choices. There’s a better way, and that is the high road,” Evers said in opening remarks at the Wisconsin Public Education Network Summer Summit at Appleton North High School.

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Evers to seek 163% increase in special education funding

State Superintendent Tony Evers said Monday he will seek a 163% increase in special education funding in his next biennial budget request. WEAC President Ron Martin applauded Evers’ announcement, saying that years of underfunding of special education has worsened under Scott Walker. “It’s incredibly important at a time when so many children have unique needs that we provide the resources needed so all kids can be successful no matter their learning style or ability,” he said.

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Special needs voucher program costs taxpayers $5.6 million, reduces aid to public schools, report says

The Wisconsin program that allows children with special needs to attend private schools at taxpayer expense cost the state $5.6 million in “scholarships” in its first two years, and diverted $4.1 million in needed state aid away from 25 local public school districts, according to a new audit from the Legislative Audit Bureau. Milwaukee Public Schools alone lost more than $2.6 million in state aid because of the program. In addition, an analysis of the report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says the report “confirmed what many critics had feared: that it would serve primarily children already in private schools and leave children with the greatest needs to the public schools.”

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