Saturday, November 4, 2017

Public Funding of Private Education

Published in the Stevens Point Journal:

To the Editor:
There's a secret sweeping across Wisconsin: taxpayers are now directly responsible for funding private religious schools in their communities.

This year, taxpayers in the Stevens Point School District will pay $542,000 to fund private school vouchers in Stevens Point.  In Wausau, the number is $602,000; in Marshfield, $255.00; and in Wisconsin Rapids, $333.000.  Outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin taxpayers will pay almost $43 million to fund private school vouchers in their communities.

We can't afford two separate systems of education.  While other states have prioritized public education funding in the last decade, Wisconsin hasn't.  Forcing school boards to pay for vouchers results in higher property taxes or fewer opportunities for our children in public schools.

Government is supposed to be transparent, so let's end the secrecy.  We deserve to know how much we are paying to support private schools.  We know how much we are paying to support technical college, the county, the state, our municipalities, and our public schools.

Ask your state legislators to support Assembly Bill 267/Senate Bill 183, requiring your property tax bill to include information showing how much state aid was taken from your public schools to fund private school vouchers.

Jeri McGinley
Stevens Point

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