A recently introduced Assembly Bill—Assembly Bill 267—aims to call attention to the growing impact of Wisconsin voucher programs on school property taxes.
The “Wisconsin Voucher Taxpayer Transparency Bill,” authored by state Rep. Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire) would require property tax bills to include information from the school district where the property is located regarding the amount of any net reduction in state aid, if any, to the district as a result of pupils enrolled in the statewide voucher program, the Racine voucher program, or the Milwaukee voucher program. (See news release.)
Continue reading Bill Seeks Transparency on Property Tax Impact of Voucher Funding
The U.S. Department of Education faces a 13.5 percent cut ($9.2 billion) under the Trump administration federal budget blueprint released today, a plan that also boosts charters and vouchers and calls for certain federal funds targeted to aid the education of low-income students to follow children who move from one public school to another.
The Washington Post reports that the so-called “skinny budget” plan would downsize or eliminate a raft of grant programs, including grants for teacher training and after-school and summer programs, among others. The cuts, among the steepest the agency has ever sustained, would be coupled with a historic investment — $1.4 billion — in charter schools, private schools and other school-choice initiatives. Continue reading Trump Administration Budget Plan Slashes Education Department, Boosts Charters and Vouchers
According to Molly Beck of the Wisconsin State Journal, “John Humphries wants schools that persistently do not meet state standards to be converted into private voucher or charter schools, or a new model of public school or some other governance model.”
He told the State Journal if elected, he would propose to bid out management of low-performing schools on the state report card to any kind of school operator, including to private voucher operators, different public school models or others. Continue reading Candidate for State Supt. Humphries Supports Converting Low Performing Schools; State School Board
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) recently had a brief Q & A with the Racine Journal Times. The first question asked Speaker Vos to name his top priorities in the upcoming legislative session beginning in January. He said the legislature’s number one job will be passing a balanced state budget in the first six months or so of 2017. He then listed his priorities for the budget including:
“I would like to continue to increase our investment in education, especially public schools and universities.”
This is encouraging news for school districts and falls in line with recent comments made by Governor Walker. We have also noted that increasing resources is crucial as revenues to public schools have not kept pace with inflation since the passage of Act 10 and there appears to be momentum for further school voucher initiatives following the election.
From The Detroit News:
President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday said he intends to appoint West Michigan GOP mega donor and philanthropist Betsy DeVos to be his education secretary, putting an ardent supporter of school choice in charge of the nation’s education policy.
DeVos, 58, is seen as a national leader in the school choice movement, which she has called an attempt to “empower” parents to find good schools for their children, whether they be traditional public schools in other neighborhoods, charter schools, virtual schools or private institutions. Continue reading Trump Selects Voucher Activist Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary
Late last week, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) announced 2016-17 enrollment figures for the state’s various private school voucher programs. This included the first year of the Special Needs Scholarship (voucher) Program and the Wisconsin, Racine, and Milwaukee voucher programs.
Altogether, the state will spend nearly a quarter of a billion dollars ($244 million) in 2016-17 on the various voucher programs it has authorized. This post examines the scope and impact of special needs vouchers. Continue reading Fiscal Impact of Special Needs Vouchers Hits Declining Enrollment Districts Doubly Hard