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2119, 18 Oct 15

Vouchers “Cost” School Districts


MADISON — Public school districts and taxpayers across the state could feel the impact of vouchers this year, as more than $16 million is transferred from public schools to pay for new entrants into the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program.

State law now requires public school districts to pay for vouchers. The money will be deducted from state aid.

A total of 142 public school districts have students who use taxpayer-funded subsidies to attend private schools. The state deducted $16.1 million in aid to cover the cost of new voucher students, according to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

First, let us remember that while the school district will not get the state aid associated with the voucher student, neither does the school district have to educate the student. They will incur exactly zero cost to educate the cost and will consequently not receive any state aid for that kid’s education. Meanwhile, the school that is educating the student will receive the state money allocated to provide that education. Seems like a reasonable deal to me.

Second, remember how incredibly tiny the state voucher program is. Last year the state spent $5.3 billion on state aid for school districts. $16.1 million is 0.3% of all state aid. I think the state’s public education infrastructure will survive.


2119, 18 October 2015


  1. Steve Austin

    Trump today mentioned getting rid of the dept. of Education. Said the states should be in charge of education. Probably just a pander that goes nowhere, but I do wonder if the mounting opposition to common core could be used to slash the DOE budget if the GOP were to win the election. Starve the beast.

    I do think dumping the DOE would be a good platform for the GOP to run on. At this point a large majority of the public is now onto the public schools monopoly scam and are demanding alternatives via vouchers and charter schools. No need for a massive Federal bureaucracy to be sticking their nose into everything.

    Education is being remade before our eyes here due to technology, changing society and choice being brought to parents.

  2. Kevin Scheunemann

    I hope vouchers get to 50%.

    We will get vigorous, competitive schools, specializing in many areas, rather than the one size fits all schooling stamp.

  3. Mark Maley

    Charter Schools that are regulated like the public schools are fine with me as we see if that really delivers quality education and not
    A cesspool of stolen or misappropriated funds

    There is no consensus on that issue so far, so let the experiment continue

    But if you want the government to support the religion of your choice in schools ,
    We can can and should pass on that

    I don’t want tax $ to go to a school that studies the Koran or the Old Testament or the Old and New Testment or learn about the Golden plates of Joseph Smith .

    I’m equal opportunity against that

  4. John Foust

    I don’t see why the public should subsidize religious education with tax dollars, as is the case with 90% of the school vouchers. It’s like saying I have a values disagreement with the city’s wastewater treatment plant, so I want a subsidy to build my own septic tank.

    There’s one thing that Catholics and Lutherans can agree on: They both like the public hand-out to keep their schools afloat, and they don’t want to use their church’s accumulated fortunes to educate the poor and needy, even when they know the private education might bring them more parishioners.

  5. Kevin Scheunemann



    When will we boot the religion of secular humanism out of the public schools?

    This way, parents have a choice about school religion, whether the cold, empty, hedonist, secular humanist religion, or those parents that wish a deeper spiritual education for their children.

    When the public school is stripped of its religion, then vouchers can be attacked on that basis. However, since the failed public school religion is overly funded, its about time other spiritual education gets a level playing field.

  6. Steve Austin

    I have to agree with Kevin. People have woken up to the fact the public school monolith teaches its own version of religion, i.e. the Big D democratic party version.

  7. scott

    I have an alternate view.

    First, the only problem in American primary and secondary education worth mentioning is the poverty and other social issues that students bring in the doors with them every day. It isn’t unions, it isn’t the curriculum and it isn’t “local control.” Those things will become relevant after the real issues are dealt with. End the drug war. Raise the minimum wage. Fix the real problems.

    Second, secularism isn’t religion. In exactly the same way not collecting stamps isn’t a hobby. And by the way, the problem with the world today cannot accurately be summed up as “not enough religion.” Nor can it be characterized by “not enough of the right KIND of religion.” Believing in things without evidence is a net negative for our species. It’s why Muslims can fly airplanes into buildings and why ostensibly modern Christians can deny the existence of planet-wide dangers. Enough with the crazies and the superstitions. We need some fact-based decision-making pronto.

    For the sake of freedom, religious schools must exist if people want them. But paying for them with tax dollars is wrong. Go to church on your own time and your own dime.

  8. Mark Maley

    ” want to make some money, write a book,
    Want to make a lot of money , start a religion ”
    L. Ron Hubbatd

  9. Kevin scheunemann


    I agree, attend church on your own dime.

    Church of liberalism needs to stop lobbying for public funding of its favorite sacrament: abortion.

    While church of liberalism gorges on public money for its favorite sacrament, the funding of no religion argument rings hollow.

    Christians are just starting to equal the playing field against the main hedonist religions of secular humanism.

  10. Pat

    Kevin, you claim secular humanism is a religion and is being taught in public schools. But, with the majority of teachers in the US being Christian, who’s teaching secular humanism?

  11. Kevin Scheunemann


    Yes, some public school teachers are Christian, but if any of them express any Christian point of view, the left is in a hurry to squash that in favor of the secular humanist position.

    Just look at what liberals want to do the football coach for daring to pray on the field.

    Christian teachers are not allowed to be fully Christian in expression in the public school…that is the second sacrament of the secular humanist religion.

  12. Pat


    “Christian teachers are not allowed to be fully Christian in expression in the public school”

    How so?

  13. Pat

    “Yes, some public school teachers are Christian, but if any of them express any Christian point of view…..”

    The majority of teachers are Christian. When you say “any Christian point of view”, do you really mean, “any”, or is there a more specific point of view you are getting at?

  14. Pat

    Actually Kevin, I wouldn’t have a problem with a voucher system for educating our children. What I would propose is:
    1) Paying for the education of our children change to 100% voucher.
    2) Every child could go to the school of their choice.
    3) The amount of the voucher would be dependent upon income of parents.
    5) Parents would make up the rest of education payment.
    6) Voucher program would be expanded to secondary education.
    7) Every school receiving money through vouchers would be overseen by school boards made up of publicly elected representatives.

  15. Mark Maley

    Give Kev some credit
    He’s not making the phoney “we are about the poor” argument

    He wants religious schools like KML to get a handout to educate their current students in the “one and only true religion ” of their choice

    I respect that .

    But since I personally paid my private school
    $500 per year tuition int the late 60’s with sub $2.00 / hr wages and played 3 sports , I respectfully
    Ask the parents of today’s kids to pay for that one true religion they want taught

  16. Pat

    I forgot to mention that I would also eliminate the child credit and instead have that applied to education vouchers for that persons children.

  17. John Foust

    Wikipedia, for what it’s worth, defines secular humanism as “The philosophy or life stance of secular humanism […] embraces human reason, ethics, and philosophical naturalism while specifically rejecting religious dogma, supernaturalism, pseudoscience, and superstition as the basis of morality and decision making.”

    So Kevin: you say you’d like to boot secular humanism out of public schools. Tell me what you’d like to subtract and add.

    Are all Christian viewpoints the same? Which should be allowed, who decides? Would it be possible for Christian viewpoints to disagree? Is Dorothy Day allowed, or only Bishop Sheen? Should Wisconsin Synod Lutheran children be segregated from the Catholics in the public schools, lest the doctrines mix? If religion is a matter of personal choice, should we be able to compel belief through whatever power the teacher, coach, or principal can see fit to exercise? What if a teacher decided to express the beliefs of non-Christian religions?

    An early and influential Supreme Court case against the teaching of religion in school originated in Wisconsin. Read about the “Edgerton Bible case”. Catholic parents objected to the use of the King James Bible in public schools. Parents objected for sectarian reasons, not secular reasons. That’s what the First Amendment is all about, right?

    As for vouchers, I’m waiting for someone to suggest you should be able to steer your contribution even when you don’t have kids in the schools.

  18. Kevin Scheunemann


    You had me until item #7.

    Public elected “school boards” are generally dysfunctional much of the time.

    We can agree on much of the first 6 items.


    Wikipedia misses important point about secular humanism.

    Secular humanism is the belief you are your own god, which secular humanists, generally, do not disagree with.

    That belief, has tremendous consequences on the spiritual life of child, guiding moral choices, and life decision making.

    I do find it entertaining listening to the argument that secular humanism is NOT a religion.

    So thank you for the interesting position on that.

    I’d like to subtract the idea of mandatory property taxation for public schooling and do what Pat suggests in item #1-#6. Make parents partially responsible for cost based on income, and state fund the rest through a competitive system of schools, abolishing the public school monopoly as it stands today.

    Trying to edit the secular humanist public school agenda for Christian friendlyliness is like trying to edit God out of the bible. Don’t think it can be done.

    I’m fine with public school existing in its hostile state to Christians, as long as there is choice to escape for all parents through vouchers.

  19. Northern Pike

    Kevin, is there belief that ISN’T religious?

  20. Pat


    I’ll stick with #7. I want accountability with tax payer money. If the board is dysfunctional elect a different board.

  21. John Foust

    Kevin, show me a secular humanist who thinks “they are their own God.” Most of them don’t believe in God, right?

    You didn’t answer any of my questions about how you’d change the public schools to your liking, or how you’d referee religion.

    What were the founders of Wisconsin thinking when they put free public school education right there in the Constitution?

  22. scott

    It’s frustrating to have these conversations with Kevin, but at the same time it can be kind of rewarding when you figure out the exact kernel of nuttiness at the center of his wack views on the issue. “OH! You think science is just another religion!” In this case, “OH! You think secularism is a religion!” It’s stupid, obviously. You only need a dictionary to dismiss it. But all you have to do is swallow that one nugget of bullshit for the rest of it to make perfect sense.

    He has a bunch of pre-thought-out reasons and proofs for these centerpieces of ignorance. Got them from church no doubt. He’ll fling them at you dripping with venom if you ask to hear them. It’s all super weird. Being impervious to…rationality.

  23. Kevin Scheunemann


    Don’t deny your secular humanist religion. Embrace it with passion and zeal.

    …unless you are ashamed of beliefs.

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