Voucher transparency draft circulated for lawmaker support

A bill draft currently being circulated among state legislators would allow them to sign on (as a co-author) and support legislation that would provide information on property tax bills relating to state aid deductions from public school districts to fund vouchers.  The draft bill is being circulated by state Senator Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee), state Representatives Jodi Emerson (D-Eau Claire) and Robyn Vining (D-Wauwatosa).

Based on our member-approved resolutions, the WASB supports this bill and encourages you to contact your state lawmakers and ask them to sign on to LRB 2897. 

From the co-sponsorship memo:

This bill provides full transparency to residents of Wisconsin about how their property
tax dollars are spent.

This bill would require property tax bills to include information from the school district
where the property is located regarding the amount of any net reduction in state aid, if any, to the district as a result of pupils enrolled in the statewide voucher program, the Racine voucher program, or the Milwaukee voucher program.

Because the cost of the voucher program is not listed on taxpayers’ property tax bills,
this voucher tax is hidden. This bill would remedy that by providing complete and open
transparency to property taxpayers in Wisconsin.

WASB Resolution 2.70 Private School Aid/Voucher Funding states in part:

“The WASB opposes the current voucher funding mechanism, under which taxpayer-financed vouchers are provided to private schools through deducting state aid from public school districts, which harms the majority of Wisconsin’s students by diminishing resources available for public schools or requiring school boards to raise local property taxes to compensate for the lost aid. Creating two publicly supported education systems threatens the sustainability of public school districts.

“The WASB supports legislation to require property tax bills to include information from the school district in which the property is located regarding the dollar amount (and percentage change) of the net reduction in state aid, if any, to the school district between the current year and the previous year as a result of pupils enrolled in statewide voucher program, the Racine voucher program, the Milwaukee voucher program, or the special needs voucher program.”