Great news for parents and kids who are able to find an education that works for them.
The number of students attending private schools on state-funded vouchers through the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program more than doubled to 2,514 this year, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction said Tuesday.
Participation in a separate Racine voucher program rose about 23% to 2,127 students.
The 142 districts affected by the statewide program stand to lose $11.9 million in state aid this year, according to the department. They will be able to levy an additional $15.8 million in local property taxes, likely pushing up tax bills in some communities.
Voucher advocates welcomed the numbers, saying they reflect a growing parental interest in having more education options for their children. Opponents criticized the program, saying it is strangling public schools.
I will remind y’all again that the public schools are “losing” the state aid for the kids, but they are also losing any responsibility or expense to educate that kid. Meanwhile, they continue to collect the local tax levy for that kid. It is a net gain for public schools.
Consider this fact:
■Three out of four students who entered the statewide program this year had attended a private school the previous year. In Racine, just 12% of the new students had been in private schools, and 66% had transferred from public schools.
So 75% of the kids in the voucher program were not in the public schools last year and are not in the public schools this year. Why would the public schools need to raise local property taxes to educate them? They don’t.
I say it again… there is no rational justification for public schools to raise local property taxes because of the voucher program. The voucher program is driving up state spending, but that’s no reason for local taxes to increase. The public schools is using confusion over the voucher program expansion to do what too many of them want to do anyway… increase taxes and spending.