Private school voucher enrollment up 8 percent, cost to taxpayers is $270 million

Enrollment in Wisconsin private school vouchers programs increased nearly 8 percent this year and cost state taxpayers $270 million, an increase of $25.5 million over last year, according to figures released Monday by the Department of Public Instruction. Across the three programs – Milwaukee, Racine and statewide – a total of 36,249 students received a voucher to attend one of the 238 participating private schools. This is an increase of 2,684 students and 29 schools across the three programs compared to the prior school year.

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Review exposes faults in Walton family study calling for more private charters

A new analysis strikes down a Walton Family Foundation report that supports expanded public funding of private charter schools. The National Education Policy Center says the Walton study is flawed and based on biased data. In fact, privately run charter schools in most cases fall behind public schools when it comes to student performance despite the fact that public schools are open to students of all backgrounds.

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Expansion of unproven, unaccountable private school vouchers harms public schools and raises taxes, analysis finds

School voucher programs – including the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program (WPCP) – divert much-needed funding away from public schools when they are expanded, according to a new policy memo by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice. In response to the report, WEAC President Ron Martin said, “If policymakers are really interested in improving education, they should invest in the public schools that serve all students.”

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Governor signs state budget, vetoes provision designed to help low-spending districts

The governor Thursday signed the state budget into law, after using his veto power on several provisions. The budget is a mixed bag for public schools. It represents a 6 percent increase in state funding for K-12 schools – the first public school increase in six years. But it continues the state’s practice of siphoning funds from public schools to subsidize private school tuition and upends teacher licensure rules. Also, the governor vetoed a provision designed to help low-spending districts.

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State budget sent to governor is a mixed bag; WEAC advocates for several vetoes

With the governor likely to act soon on a state budget that includes a funding increase at long last for public schools, WEAC members are pleased elected officials have responded to the public’s call to increase funding for public schools. And while educators are welcoming the positive aspects of the budget document, they are also advocating for several vetoes on provisions that do not serve students well.

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