Thursday, June 23, 2016

New figures confirm how voucher schools have stolen from public ones

Not that we didn’t already know that Walker/WisGOP policies on K-12 education in Wisconsin show a preference for voucher schools over public ones, but we now have new data which gives numbers behind that favoritism. These figures show that not only are public schools being shortchanged in state aid, but that those funds aren’t being saved, and instead increasing amounts of money are being sent to unaccountable voucher schools.

State Sen. Janet Bewley asked the Legislative Fiscal Bureau for figures comparing the 2010-11 budget on K-12 education (the year before Walker and WisGOP came to power) and the budget for the soon-to-be completed 2015-16 fiscal year. These figures were split up between the aids to K-12 public schools, and to vouchers, and then total public school enrollments were used to determine the aid per student (the per-student aid for vouchers is set by statute).

Here’s what we found, and I’ll add that I’m projecting 2015-16 All Public School aids by using the budgeted amount of $751.75 million for categorical aids (the actual expense will likely be less).

General K-12 Public School Aids per Student
2010-11 $5,318
2015-16 $5,108 (-$210)
2015-16 in 2011 dollars $4,732 (-$586)

All K-12 Public School Aids per Student
2010-11 $6,011
2015-16 $5,998 (-$13)
2015-16 in 2011 dollars $5,556 (-$455)

K-12 Voucher School Payments per Student
2010-11 $6,442
2015-16 $7,214 (+$772)
2015-16 in 2011 dollars $6,682 (+$240)

2010-11 $6,442
2015-16 $7,860 (+$1,418)
2015-16 in 2011 dollars $7,281 (+$839)

So not only has the state cut public school aids while voucher school payments per students went up, but those voucher school payments went up well beyond the rate of inflation. Talk about enabling with free money! I’m sure this funneling funds out of public schools and into vouchers has NOTHING to do with convicted criminal Scott Jensen throwing big sums of “independent” voucher money behind GOP candidates in elections, would it? Nooooooo.

And the fact that over ¾ of new voucher students were already attending a private school means that the state funding is nothing more than a subsidy of those schools’ tuition. That move also gives more flexibility to those schools up to raise tuition by a higher amount, since fewer people are paying full price anyway (that’s a line GOPs use to argue against student loans and state aid to colleges, so why can’t I use it?). And those who are paying that higher tuition are likely to get some of that cost back, since Wisconsin parents can write off up to $10,000 of private school tuition.

State Rep. Sondy Pope (the top Democrat on the Assembly’s Education Committee) put the results of this money-funneling into a proper perspective.
“Our public schools and students have been struggling to maintain high-quality education under massive budget cuts. They’ve cut resources, staff, educational offerings and more to make way for Republicans’ irresponsible budgeting. All-the-while, private school students have been sitting pretty, having their tuition covered by massive taxpayer subsidies….

This information shows yet again how Republican legislators are choosing special interest groups over their constituents. With the voucher lobbying heavily padding their campaigns, these legislators have chosen to ignore and further damage our public schools – all for more money in their own pockets.”
Yeah, that pretty much sums it up, Sondy. WisGOP K-12 policies have ZERO to do with improving education or the talent that is produced by those schools, but has everything to do with funneling resources to those who support their campaign. And the state’s economy and budget continue to suffer as a result of the selfish political decisions that allowed this voucher theft to occur.


  1. Let's call these schools what they are, vulture schools

    1. And it's an accurate meaning, because they leave behind the questionable students, leaving the public schools having to de with thise disruptive forces without the funding to match

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. The only solution is to return to a Democratic majority in the state government. The Republicans will "listen" to concerns about public education funding, but it's more than clear they won't do a damn thing about it.

    1. This is correct, especially when you realize Boss Vos and the Bradleys control their funding.

      On a related note, I se Robbin' is trying to argue "we spend more on K-12 education these days." What he conveniently leaves out is the money-funnel that takes money away from public schools and into vouchers. What a cynical lowlife.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Public schools make money on every voucher kid that leaves.

    1. Nope, try again. In fact, the new 2015-17 makes it a direct taking of state aid from the public district that the kid is from, and giving that money to the voucher school.

      Plus, you can't pull a lame hit-and-run without support for that statement. So explain yourself, or be proven a pathetic coward.