WAUSAU, Wis. (WXPR) - A Wausau Democrat was quick to jump on a report last week that said public school students will not get preference over private students already in private schools in the expansion of the voucher system. It also said a large majority of the new applicants for taxpayer-funded voucher assistance are already enrolled in private schools.
Representative Mandy Wright says some $420 million tax dollars will be going to private voucher schools at a time when rural public districts are in tough fiscal shape. “And you'll see more and more districts face very difficult decisions, and we are seeing fewer and fewer educational opportunities for our public education students."
Wright says majority Republicans in the legislature want the program to expand. "If you look at the Republican platform, they want to increase vouchers statewide regardless of any economic factors for the families. That means families who could traditionally afford to send their children to private school could also get subsidized, taxpayer funded vouchers."
Voucher supporters say the voucher program gives parents an alternative for their children who are enrolled in underperforming public schools. Some also say it’s not fair for parents to support two school systems, one by private tuition and another by taxes.