Editor, Daily Times:
In a recent Dittrich Dispatch, Rep. Dittrich stated that the school choice program saves Wisconsin nearly $108 million. What she didn't explain is that this savings would only happen if every student currently enrolled in the choice program went to their public school. This will never happen because 84 percent of choice students in the 2017-18 school year never attended a public school in the first place. If the program was eliminated, most of those students would continue in the choice school and now they (or the choice school) would be responsible for their tuition.
The fact is the school voucher program cost Wisconsin taxpayers $302 million this year. The fact is the newest report shows voucher and charter schools will reduce aid to public schools by nearly $193 million this year. The fact is this money goes to private schools that are not held accountable for student achievement or are not transparent in how that money is spent. It is a myth that there is greater parental satisfaction in choice schools versus public schools.
It is time to put a freeze on the current voucher program until we are fully funding our public schools. Did you know that, back in 2014, outgoing Rep. Steve Kestell was already questioning the school choice program and how we would deal with funding two parallel school programs?
It is time to put a freeze on the current voucher program until we are holding all schools receiving public tax dollars to the same level of accountability. Taxpayers deserve to know that how their money is being spent.
As the 2019-21 state budget is being prepared, it is time to contact your legislators and ask them to take seriously our public responsibility to provide a high quality education for the 860,000 students who attend our public schools. Wisconsinites value their public schools and expect their elected officials to support them.