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The Eau Claire County Board was asked to endorse a resolution saluting “School Choice Week,” but homeowners turned out to denounce the loss of money from their public schools that was sent to voucher schools.
One after another, homeowners asked why they were supporting two school systems, why the money intended for their public schools was being diverted to religious schools, why their taxes were being used to subsidize the tuition of students who had never attended public schools.
That discussion followed a report by the state Department of Public Instruction showing Wisconsin taxpayers will spend $349.6 million on school vouchers this school year, up from $302 million the previous year. A total of 43,450 students are receiving voucher funds this year, an increase of 3,411, or 8.5 percent, from last school year..
Concerns about the impact of that funding shift on public schools surfaced at a December meeting of the Eau Claire County Board, where residents spoke against a resolution proclaiming Jan. 26 to Feb. 1 as Eau Claire County “School Choice Week.” Speakers told board supervisors that school choice is just another term for voucher schools, and that taxpayer funding for those schools hurts Wisconsin’s public schools.
After hearing from eight speakers, County Board supervisors voted 24-2 against the measure. The city of Eau Claire is home not only to a public school district but to the Regis Catholic Schools system, where 182 of the 800 students (22.8 percent) enrolled this school year receive voucher scholarships, according to DPI data.
The County Board action in Eau Claire is a sign that public school advocates are being increasingly vocal about the expansion of private school vouchers at the expense of public school districts and making taxpayers fund two different education systems.
Yes, your voice matters. Speak up against the diversion of money from public schools to privately operated charters and religious school vouchers.
Eight homeowners spoke out, and the board voted 24-2 NOT to pass a resolution supporting “school choice week.”
“School Choice Week” is “Defund Public Schools” week.
Do not celebrate the underfunding of your public schools!