August 28, 2014
School Bells Ring:
Local Schools See Fewer State Dollars while Private “Voucher” Schools Win Big
Senator Kathleen Vinehout
“How is it possible that private voucher schools can receive almost four and a half times the state funding per student as our public school district receives in equalized aid,” Pepin School Superintendent Bruce Quinton wrote me.
As a new school year begins, students and parents see changes; for example, increased meal costs, larger class sizes, retiring teachers not replaced and fewer teachers’ aides. There are fewer janitors and delayed maintenance; longer bus rides and fewer field trips; fewer music and art classes.
Many public schools are forced to do more with less because lawmakers who voted for the last state budget increased state tax dollars to private schools. Nearly half of Wisconsin’s public schools will receive less aid this school year than the last – including many of our local schools.
Eau Claire received the largest dollar amount cut statewide – over $2.3 million while Pepin and Alma received the largest local percentage cuts - over 15%. At the same time, state aid per pupil going to private ‘voucher’ schools reached its highest point in state history.