Expansion of unproven, unaccountable private school vouchers harms public schools and raises taxes, analysis finds

School voucher programs – including the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program (WPCP) – divert much-needed funding away from public schools when they are expanded, according to a new policy memo by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice. In response to the report, WEAC President Ron Martin said, “If policymakers are really interested in improving education, they should invest in the public schools that serve all students.”

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Governor signs state budget, vetoes provision designed to help low-spending districts

The governor Thursday signed the state budget into law, after using his veto power on several provisions. The budget is a mixed bag for public schools. It represents a 6 percent increase in state funding for K-12 schools – the first public school increase in six years. But it continues the state’s practice of siphoning funds from public schools to subsidize private school tuition and upends teacher licensure rules. Also, the governor vetoed a provision designed to help low-spending districts.

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State budget sent to governor is a mixed bag; WEAC advocates for several vetoes

With the governor likely to act soon on a state budget that includes a funding increase at long last for public schools, WEAC members are pleased elected officials have responded to the public’s call to increase funding for public schools. And while educators are welcoming the positive aspects of the budget document, they are also advocating for several vetoes on provisions that do not serve students well.

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Legislative Update – September 18 – Senate passes budget, sends to governor

The State Senate passed a $76 billion state budget over the weekend, clearing the way for the governor to act – likely this week. The governor has said he will veto some measures, so this is your chance to send a letter asking him to veto bad budget provisions like restrictions on local control of school boards in referendums and the break-apart of the Racine Unified School District.

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Legislative Update – September 14 – Assembly passes budget

The State Assembly passed the budget Wednesday, which now goes to the Senate on Friday. Read more and take this opportunity to contact your senators about the education issues that are important to you on WEAC’s Take Action Page.

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ALEC conference continues group’s focus on undermining public schools, Rep. Chris Taylor says

State Representative Chris Taylor, a Democrat from Madison, just got back from another American Legislative Exchange Council conference, and concluded: “The issue of the moment for ALEC is public education — that is, undermining it.” … “For ALEC, it is all about tearing down our public-school infrastructure so corporate privatization efforts can move in and make a buck,” she writes in a column published by The Progressive.

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NAACP calls for elimination of for-profit charter schools

In a highly anticipated report, the NAACP Wednesday called for elimination of for-profit charter schools and more equitable funding for all schools serving students of color. “No federal, state, or local taxpayer dollars should be used to fund for-profit charter schools, nor should public funding be sent from nonprofit charters to for-profit charter management companies,” the organization says in its report titled Quality Education for All: One School at a Time. “The widespread findings of misconduct and poor student performance in for-profit charter schools demand the elimination of these schools. Moreover, allowing for-profit entities to operate schools creates an inherent conflict of interest.”

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Legislative Update – July 27

An Assembly bill (AB-452) referred to the education committee would terminate Wisconsin’s voucher program, including special needs vouchers, and replace the achievement gap reduction program with an expansion of the SAGE program. Also, Wisconsin strikes an agreement for a massive Foxconn plant in Wisconsin, with the state providing tax credits totaling up to $3 billion over 15 years.

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Public schools, taxpayers would pay greater share of voucher costs under new state budget plan

Taxpayers would see the price tag for school vouchers triple under the Senate budget plan, the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau has discovered. Instead of siphoning money from public schools, that funding should be restored to the public schools serving all children, no matter where they live or what their family circumstances are, said WEAC President Ron Martin.

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Legislative Update – July 25

A provision in the Senate Republicans’ budget plan announced last week has public school advocates sounding the alarm on how it would harm districts in areas of the state with low property values. The bottom line is that, under referendum restrictions included in the Senate GOP plan, districts with low property wealth wouldn’t see any state equalized aid increases if they pass a referendum for additional spending.

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