Property tax bills show that the money is going to schools, but an untagged portion of it is not going to local public schools.
Democrats in the Wisconsin Legislative Assembly on Tuesday unveiled a bill that would provide more information on how taxpayers’ money is being spent on private schools through Wisconsin’s voucher system, at the expense of local public schools.
If passed, the bill would add information to tax bills showing exactly how much of a property owner’s property taxes will support private schools. Currently, this information is not provided. Instead, tax bills simply show the amount going to schools in general, without distinguishing between private and public institutions.
Private school vouchers cost $237.7 million for Milwaukee, $32.7 million for Racine, and $119.1 million for the rest of the state, according to Department of Public Instruction figures. 2021-22 school year.
Sen. Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) and Rep. Jodi Emerson (D-Eau Claire) are sponsoring the legislation. “Wisconsins work hard for their money and they deserve to know exactly where their tax money is going,” Larson said in a written statement. “Unfortunately, many of our neighbors are unaware that voucher programs are funded largely by taking money away from local public schools.”
Every public school district is affected to some degree because school voucher dollars come from the same state budget fund that pays public schools. Voucher disbursements are made first, before public school disbursements.
The Democrats’ proposal comes the same day the state Senate passed and sent Governor Tony Evers a series of Republican bills that would, among other things, ban the teaching of critical race theory in public schools. , where this is not already the case. taught – as well as systemic racism, implicit biases and other factors that lead to unequal outcomes for black people in areas such as criminal justice, education and health care. Evers is expected to veto the legislation.