Wisconsin’s Republican-dominated legislature has approved a bill that will expand the state’s voucher program by $48 million over the next two years. As written, that increase will cut into public school funding and will allow more private and religious schools to accept taxpayer dollars.
Critics are calling the legislation a mistake.
“Their agenda is to take money from the public schools and give it to the private schools,” parent Karen Suarez Flint told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal. “Don’t use kids to push an agenda that has nothing to do with them. Last night hurt my kids. They had no voice and they were hurt.”
She added, “We’re all for choice; go to any school you want, but don’t take our tax dollars. Tax money belongs in the public schools.”
Sandy Whisler, a former public school teacher, agreed, saying, “I believe there are people and organizations who are pushing for privatization of our public schools. And that is not what I believe personally, and that is not what the majority of people in Wisconsin want.”
The scheme will also allow home school and private school students to participate in public school athletics, and will increase the cap on total voucher recipients from 1,000 to 1 percent of the state’s school-age children. It was signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker (R).