Memo highlights drastic Republican school cuts

Community referendums skyrocket as GOP takes public funds from local schools to subsidize voucher operators


Students in Wisconsin’s public schools have seen their general school aid funding cut by more than $200 per student since Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans took office in 2011 according to a new memo from the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau. While public schools have seen historic cuts under Republican budgets, the memo also reveals that private voucher schools have seen a massive increase in taxpayer subsidies.


“Our local schools, students and taxpayers are being punished by Republican cuts designed to siphon more money to their special interest allies,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse). “As a result of Republican school cuts, thousands of hardworking Wisconsin families are being forced to pay higher property taxes while the wealthy receive new private school tax breaks and subsidies.”


Since Republicans took control in 2011, the memo reveals that funding increased by $911 for each private voucher student while public school students saw their general school aid funding cut by $210 per pupil.


“The massive funding disparity driven by Republican policies raises a basic question of fairness,” said Shilling. “Why should public school students be forced to sacrifice in order to subsidize their peers in private institutions? In order to strengthen our middle class and prepare Wisconsin’s children for the future, we need to restore our state investment in quality education and create a level playing field for all students regardless of their zip code. Democrats are committed to investing in quality education and providing relief to local taxpayers across the state.”


Wisconsin communities have passed 667 K-12 school funding referendums since 2011 to compensate for reduced state funding and stricter limits imposed by the Republican-controlled state legislature.


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