New coalition is working to stop voucher expansion in northern Wisconsin

Screen Shot 2014-10-08 at 8.55.45 AMA new grassroots coalition, “NoVouchers”, says its volunteer members will be working to stop the expansion of taxpayer-funded vouchers for private schools in rural communities in northern Wisconsin.

“Our group calculated that the cost of funding vouchers for private school students just in Merrill, Wausau, Green Bay and Eau Claire could cost taxpayers – at minimum — an additional $25.8 million every year”, said group founder Pam Kobielus, adding that the annual cost of vouchers statewide has been estimated at $1.2 billion for the 2014-2015 school year.

Wisconsin already faces a projected $1.8 billion state budget deficit. And, by law, a Budget Repair Bill would be triggered if the state was $79 million in the red. Yet Governor Walker refuses to explain exactly where the offsetting cuts in the general budget would come from, putting at risk the future of public schools, local property taxes and other state programs.

In 2014 for the very first time, Wisconsin taxpayers began funding tax deductions for parents of private school students of up to $10,000 per year per child, according to Kobielus. This taxpayer “gift” to private school parents costs the State of Wisconsin lost tax revenue (on average) of $240 for each elementary school student and $600 for each high school student. “It just does not make sense for Governor Walker to also ask voters to pay for a separate, unaccountable private school system when existing, fully accountable public schools serve more than 9 out of 10 students in rural Wisconsin,” she added.

Parents of public school students represent the majority voice in local rural communities and they – not a few legislators in Madison – must have the final say in this important issue.

Parents of public school students and other concerned taxpayers can receive digital news and information about school vouchers by sending an email to: NoVouchers@cox.net. There is no membership charge to join and receive ongoing updates. For joining, new members will receive by return email a FREE chart comparing enrollment trends for public and private schools in Merrill, Wausau, Green Bay and Eau Claire.