Voucher Schools: An Expensive, Unnecessary Entitlement

May 20, 2014

New data released yesterday from the state Department of Public Instruction shows that 75 percent of students receiving taxpayer subsidies to attend voucher schools were already attending a private school.

Walker’s first budget cut $550 per pupil from our public schools, which are attended by 99.7% of Wisconsin schoolchildren. In his second budget, instead of repairing the damage to our public schools, Scott Walker drastically expanded funding for voucher schools, which are attended by only 0.3% of Wisconsin children, by a staggering $973.50 per pupil.

All together, this data confirms what opponents to unaccountable voucher schools have long known — Scott Walker’s voucher expansion has created a secondary education system that Wisconsin simply cannot afford to fund.

Voucher schools are not accountable to the taxpayers and are able to operate under relaxed guidelines, to include allowing unlicensed teachers and being able to discriminate against students with special needs.

Walker’s budget also gives a tax break to anyone — no matter how wealthy they are — that sends their kids to private school.

Vouchers have long been promoted as a way to give a “choice” to students who couldn’t afford private school. Instead, we see the exact opposite. These are students already in private schools who are now getting their tuition bills picked up by taxpayers. This isn’t creating new opportunity, its just creating a new unaccountable entitlement and subsidizing private schools at taxpayers expense.

“Scott Walker weakening public schools in the midst of a jobs crisis by funneling money to unaccountable voucher schools can only continue Wisconsin’s downward economic spiral, which has us ranked 9th out of 10 Midwest states on job creation,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Wednesday. “It harms our kids and Wisconsin’s bottom line when we take from our public schools in favor of funding an unnecessary and expensive entitlement like taxpayer subsidies for parents who already send their kids to private school.”