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For immediate release.
October 13, 2023
Wisconsin Public School Advocates Applaud Lawsuit Against Vouchers
Wisconsin Public Education Network joins advocates for students across the state in applauding the lawsuit filed yesterday challenging the public funding for Wisconsin private school vouchers and independent charters—a failed “experiment” that is bad for both taxpayers and students.
The suit challenges Wisconsin’s school funding structure in four key areas:
- The non-public use of public funds that go to voucher schools;
- The unfairness of the tax system in diverting local school districts’ funds to private schools, thereby overburdening property taxpayers to fund public schools;
- The lack of oversight over private voucher schools by the Department of Public Instruction, despite the schools’ receipt of public funds; and
- The arbitrary and insufficient limits placed on school districts’ revenue.
Dr. Julie Underwood, lead plaintiff on the suit and Dean Emerita of the UW-Madison School of Education, said: “The voucher and independent schools have been draining resources from Wisconsin’s public schools for too long. We believe these programs are unconstitutional and hope the Wisconsin Supreme Court ends them now.”
Heather DuBois Bourenane, executive director of Wisconsin Public Education Network, said: “Children in public schools have paid the price for decades as the resources they so desperately need have been siphoned off to an unaccountable private system that plays by its own set of rules. Just this year, public schools received yet another cut relative to inflation, while voucher schools received massive increases in public dollars. Advocates and watchdogs have long been shining a light on the negative impacts of privatization on our students and our communities, and the number one question we hear is: ‘how is this legal?’ It’s long past time to hold the state accountable for meeting its constitutional obligation to students attending public schools.”
Wisconsin will watch closely as this long-overdue challenge moves forward, with hope that we can finally deliver the accountability and protections under the law that all Wisconsin students deserve.