Review exposes faults in Walton family study calling for more private charters

WEAC partners with the Great Lakes Center to share and provide academically sound reviews of education-related studies. WEAC President Ron Martin sits on the Great Lakes Board of Directors and shares this academic review exposing a so-called study funded by the Walton Family Foundation calling for more privately run charter school funding in New York City.

Review exposes faults in Walton family study calling for more private charters

They wrongly assume charters, public schools provide same services, so should get same funding

Across America, privately run charter schools receive public school funding but in most cases fall behind public schools when it comes to student performance. Yet, in Wisconsin and beyond, some policymakers support funding for these charter schools as a way to expand school choice.

A recent study promoting privately run charter schools uses flawed methods and conclusions – and policymakers are strongly urged not to rely on the faulty claims when making public policy.

Read the Review

Charter School Funding: Inequity in New York City claims New York City charter schools receive 19 percent less funding than district schools. The authors used 2014 data to say there is a $4,888 per pupil funding gap between charter schools and district schools. The authors fail to acknowledge that New York is giving charter schools an increase in per-pupil funding in 2018.

The report also assumes charter schools and district schools provide similar services, so both should receive equal funding. The report fails to demonstrate how these schools are equal and excludes important school data such as enrollment numbers. For example, the report doesn’t consider that students who need special education services are more likely to enroll in district schools than charter schools and it costs more to provide those services to students.

Finally, the authors of the flawed report validate their findings with previous reports they have written themselves, making their approach biased. Even though there is already a large body of research, the authors do not cite any existing independent research or reports.

The review was conducted by the National Education Policy Center.

Find WEAC resources on voucher schools at www.weac.org/vouchers.

Expansion of unproven, unaccountable private school vouchers harms public schools and raises taxes, analysis finds

School voucher programs – including the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program (WPCP) – divert much-needed funding away from public schools when they are expanded, according to a new policy memo by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

The peer-reviewed memo, Assessing the Fiscal Impact of Wisconsin’s Statewide Voucher Program, examines the fiscal impact of the WPCP and how it affects public schools.

The analysis found that if WPCP were expanded, public school funding would decline and taxpayers would be burdened with extra costs. This report is timely because Wisconsin policymakers are looking at expanding WPCP to more students in the state of Wisconsin.

“This national research is worth paying attention to, and cautions other states not to go down the same road as Wisconsin in terms of unaccountable private school vouchers,” said WEAC President Ron Martin. “If policymakers are really interested in improving education, they should invest in the public schools that serve all students.”

The research outlines the sad reality: as the statewide program expands, the reduction to local school districts increase. The statewide program is already distributing tens of millions of dollars for private school tuition. The research expressly recommends Wisconsin not increase the income limit on the program to allow wealthier families to receive tuition subsidies – however that’s just what the governor’s budget signed in late September did.

“The available evidence suggests that policymakers across the country should think carefully before emulating Wisconsin’s statewide voucher program in their own states,” the author says.

While the policy memo acknowledges there is still more research that is needed, the memo urges policymakers to consider the repercussions of further transferring public school funding to private schools. There is limited evidence on the effectiveness of voucher programs. Despite the lack of proven results, voucher and voucher-like programs across the country continue to expand and grow.

The new policy memo found expanding the statewide Wisconsin Parental Choice Program (WPCP) could worsen disparities in public school funding. It concludes:

  • Policymakers should think cautiously about whether the limited benefits of voucher programs outweigh the unintended consequences to our public schools.
  • Voucher and voucher-like programs divert much-needed funding from public schools and redirect it to private schools where, in some cases, there is little accountability or evidence to support expansion.
  • If state policymakers expand voucher programs, this could increase the tax burden of citizens, especially those living in rural communities and small school districts with fewer students.
  • Policymakers should focus on what already works, which is strengthening public schools and ensuring school districts have the resources they need to adequately prepare students for the future.
    • There is no clear evidence that demonstrates students who receive vouchers and attend private schools perform better than students who attend public schools.
    • Voucher programs, in most cases, do not empower low-income families to choose schools that they would not otherwise attend, since many voucher recipients have already attended private schools prior to receiving vouchers.
    • Many private schools do not provide special education or other services that public schools are required to provide, which is a significant cost for public schools.
  • To promote high-quality education and funding equity, the policy memo urges policymakers to carefully rethink expanding or replicating the WPCP.
    • The author of the policy memo recommends that Wisconsin policymakers maintain the income threshold for voucher program participation at 185 percent of the federal poverty level, instead of increasing it to the proposed 300 percent income limit.
    • To protect funding for public school districts, the author recommends keeping the enrollment cap at one percent in each district and using a lottery to determine participation.
    • Finally, the author recommends funding the WPCP through the state’s general-purpose revenue, paying for statewide school vouchers through state taxes instead of placing the burden on taxpayers living in communities where students receive vouchers.

“More than ever,” the analysis concludes, “many public schools struggle with inadequate funding. As voucher programs expand, this could mean less money for public schools in communities where students receive school vouchers to attend private schools.”

There are currently 33,775 students enrolled in Wisconsin’s school voucher programs. Two percent of students in each district could enroll in WPCP and the enrollment cap will expand by one percent through 2026 when the cap is eliminated. The memo found if the program expands, it could shift millions of dollars in public school funding to the WPCP and private schools.

Find the report on the Great Lakes Center website: http://www.greatlakescenter.org

This report can also found on the NEPC website: http://nepc.colorado.edu/

Governor signs state budget, vetoes provision designed to help low-spending districts

The governor Thursday signed the state budget into law, after using his veto power on several provisions.

The budget is a mixed bag for public schools. It represents a 6 percent increase in state funding for K-12 schools – the first public school increase in six years. That includes a per-pupil increase outside of the school funding formula of $200 and $204 each year of the budget. Increases in categorical aids are also included, in areas such as mental health supports and rural school support.

The budget also continues the state’s practice of siphoning funds from public schools to subsidize private school tuition. Private school vouchers will be increased $217 per pupil each year of the budget, and the income limit is expanded to allow high-earning households to receive tax-funded tuition vouchers. Special needs vouchers are also expanded, and funding is increased substantially.

Teacher licensure is upended, and you can be sure WEAC will advocate intensely as administrative rules and procedures are developed to ensure Wisconsin students have qualified teachers and that the education professions are maintained and respected for their critical role in our democracy.

Governor Walker vetoed a provision that would have increased the amount of money school districts that spend less per student than the state average can raise in property taxes.

Kim Kaukl, who oversees the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance, was quoted in the Wisconsin State Journal as saying the vetoed provision “would have allowed these districts an opportunity to move closer to an even playing field with neighboring districts. This veto continues to punish the districts that were frugal prior to revenue caps being instituted.”

For an overview of the state budget and public schools, visit www.weac.org/budget.

Read more:

Scott Walker issues vetoes to new state budget, targeting low-spending schools, historic tax credit

Gov. Scott Walker said Wednesday that he’s revising nearly 100 areas of the state’s new budget, axing a plan championed by Assembly Republicans to increase revenue for school districts that spend less than others and dramatically curtailing a popular state tax credit that helps restore historic buildings.

State budget sent to governor is a mixed bag; WEAC advocates for several vetoes

With the governor likely to act soon on a state budget that includes a funding increase at long last for public schools, WEAC members are pleased elected officials have responded to the public’s call to increase funding for public schools. And while educators are welcoming the positive aspects of the budget document, they are also advocating for several vetoes on provisions that do not serve students well. Those include:

Energy Efficiency
The proposal halts the ability for districts to exceed revenue limits for energy efficiency measures for one year. Last year, 120 districts utilized the exemption to enact long-term cost-saving measures. The governor, who originally sought to eliminate the exemption, says he’ll veto the program entirely when he takes up the budget.

Referendum Restrictions
Restrictions to local school referendums in the budget would tie the hands of local school boards when it comes to raising funds to keep schools afloat for students. Under the plan, referendums would only be allowed on the regularly scheduled election days – spring primary and general each year and the partisan primary and general in even-numbered years, or the second Tuesday in November of odd-numbered years. The governor says he plans to veto the ability to go to referendum in November of non-election years.

Voucher Income Expansion
Income limits would be expanded for state-funded private school tuition vouchers in the statewide program. The current limit is $44,955 for a family of four in 2017-18. That would go to $53,460. Expanding the income limits would add an additional 550 students in 2018-19. Local school districts have to pay for those vouchers, and in the budget plan would be allowed to raise local property taxes. Statewide, that could signal an additional $30 million in property taxes.

Special Needs Vouchers
Elimination of Prior Year Open Enrollment Requirement. Pupils would no longer have been denied under the open enrollment program in order to receive a special needs voucher. That change alone is estimated to increase the number of pupils in the program by 50 next year, and increase voucher payments by $621,400. The school districts the pupils live in would pay for the voucher tuition, but would be allowed to raise local property taxes to cover the private school price tag.

Eliminate Prior Year Public School Enrollment Requirement. Beginning next year, current private school students would receive tax-funded tuition under the special needs voucher program. Law now says they had to be enrolled in a public school the prior year. It is estimated that the change could increase the number of pupils participating in the program by 200 pupils next year and increase voucher payments by $2.5 million. Again, school districts would be allowed to raise local property taxes to cover the private school price tag.

Voucher PaymentsIn the first year a pupil receives a special needs voucher, the private school would receive $12,000 from the public school district. The following year, the private school would receive the greater amount of these two scenarios:

  • Either the actual costs incurred by the private school the year before based on what they file with the DPI to document what it cost to implement the child’s most recent IEP or services plan (as modified by agreement between the private school and the child’s parent) plus related services agreed to by the private school and the child’s parent that are not included in the IEP or services plan; or
  • A flat rate of $12,000.

This is a no-win for taxpayers, with private schools in the voucher program required to provide little to no accountability for meeting student needs or being fiscally responsible. State aid would be siphoned from local public school aid and shifted to private schools up to 150 percent of the per-pupil payment (again allowing school boards to raise local property taxes to make it up). Special needs voucher costs above the 150 percent would result in the state shifting tax dollars to cover the private school tuition bill, up to 90 percent above the remaining amount.

Privately Run Charter Schools
Allows any UW Chancellor and any technical college district board to authorize independent charter schools anywhere in the state.

Racine Unified Break-Apart Plan
Similar to the failed takeover maneuver aimed at Milwaukee Public Schools, Republican lawmakers included a break-apart plan that targets the Racine Unified School District. The proposal would allow a break-apart czar to be appointed by politicians and, if students score low on standardized tests, would give the district one year to improve test scores before allowing villages to create their own school districts.

Alternative teacher preparation programs
Initial teaching licenses would be awarded to anyone with a bachelor’s degree and who has completed an alternative certification program (aka online licensing factories that refuse to meet minimum standards set by the legislature). Under the measure, the certification program must be operated by a provider that is a non-profit organization under the internal revenue code, that operates in at least five states and has been in operation for at least 10 years, and that requires the candidate to pass a subject area exam and the Professional Teaching Knowledge exam. This opens the door to outfits such as the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence, which operates in Florida, Arkansas and Tennessee, to name a few. The Board’s website promotes its program as a way to earn teacher certification in less than one year, without taking on debt or returning to school. Student teaching is not required as a basis of certification.

Legislative Update – September 14 – Assembly passes budget

Assembly passes budget, onto Senate now

The State Assembly passed the budget Wednesday, which now goes to the Senate on Friday. Take this opportunity to contact your senators about the education issues that are important to you on WEAC’s Take Action Page.

To see key components of the budget bill, go to www.weac.org/budget.

The budget passed 57-39. Opposing the measure were all Democrats and Republicans Scott Allen (Waukesha), Janel Brandtjen (Menomonee Falls), Bob Gannon (West Bend), Adam Jarchow (Balsam Lake) and Joe Sanfelippo (New Berlin). Insiders say the Senate doesn’t yet have the votes to pass the budget, with major sticking points around transportation, increased spending and several K-12 issues that are still being sought including increasing voucher income eligibility to 300 percent of the federal poverty level instead of the current bump to 220 percent; including even more referendum restrictions to allow school boards to rescind previously passed referendums and excluding the amount levied through referendum from shared costs in the equalization aid formula; and making the repeal of the energy efficiency exemption effective in the first year of the budget.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau has made the Comparative Summary of Budget Recommendations – Governor and Joint Finance Committee available (Agency Listings) – if you’d like to see how far the budget has come from the governor’s original proposal back in February to now.

Senate passes $3 billion Foxconn bill
The Senate on Tuesday approved the $3 billion Foxconn bill, 20-13, with GOP Sen. Robert Cowles opposing it and Dem Bob Wirch voting for the proposal. The bill included an amendment that maintains the appeals court’s role in any lawsuits filed over decisions related to the economic development zone where the Foxconn project is located. However, the appeals process is sped up.

Coming up in the Legislature
The Senate Education Committee will hold public hearings Thursday on bills relating to professional development in character education (SB 329), tuberculosis screening for school employees (SB 382) and changing the payment schedules for public, voucher and independently run charter schools (SB 383).

Career & Tech Ed Grants
The Assembly Committee on Workforce Development met Tuesday on  AB 192 (companion bill SB 127), relating to career and technical education incentive grants. This bill removes the per pupil limitation on career and technical education incentive grants that the Department of Workforce Development awards to school districts. Under current law, DWD must award a grant to a school district in the amount of $1,000 per pupil who, in the prior school year, obtained a high school diploma and successfully completed an industry-recognized certification program approved by DWD. Under the bill, DWD must award $1,000 for each certification program completed by a pupil.  

WEAC continues to monitor legislative activity and the impact on educators and working families. Look for our updates and encourage your colleagues to sign up for them as well. Direct your questions to communications@weac.org.

Special needs voucher expansion passes through committee, contact your elected officials now!

The state’s budget-writing Joint Finance Committee today voted along party lines to expand the Special Needs Voucher Program as part of the state budget bill.  With state resources so tight for public schools, and the funding for special needs vouchers coming directly from local school districts, why would the Legislature move to reduce funding for public schools by about $3 million over what it already spends on private school tuition next year, when the governor didn’t even include this move in his original budget proposal?

Voucher lobbyists have been active at the Capitol and it seems their campaign contributions are paying off, as the Republican move would add about 250 pupils to the entitlement next year.

Here are the nuts-and-bolts of today’s voucher developments:

Eliminate Prior Year Open Enrollment Requirement. Pupils would no longer have been denied under the open enrollment program in order to receive a special needs voucher. That change alone is estimated to increase the number of pupils in the program by 50 next year, and increase voucher payments by $621,400. The school districts the pupils live in would pay for the voucher tuition, but would be allowed to raise local property taxes to cover the private school price tag.

Eliminate Prior Year Public School Enrollment Requirement. Beginning next year, current private school students could receive tax-funded tuition under the special needs voucher program. Law now says they had to be enrolled in a public school the prior year. It is estimated that the change could increase the number of pupils participating in the program by 200 pupils next year and increase voucher payments by $2.5 million. Again, would be allowed to raise local property taxes to cover the private school price tag.

Voucher Payments. In the first year a pupil receives a special needs voucher, the private school would receive $12,000 from the public school district. The following year, the private school would receive the greater amount of these two scenarios:

  • Either the actual costs incurred by the private school the year before based on what they file with the DPI to document what it cost to implement the child’s most recent IEP or services plan (as modified by agreement between the private school and the child’s parent) plus related services agreed to by the private school and the child’s parent that are not included in the IEP or services plan; or
  • A flat rate of $12,000.

This is a no-win for taxpayers, with private schools in the voucher program required to provide little to no accountability for meeting student needs or being fiscally responsible. State aid would be siphoned from local public school aid and shifted to private schools up to 150 percent of the per-pupil payment (again allowing school boards to raise local property taxes to make it up). Special needs voucher costs above the 150 percent would result in the state shifting tax dollars to cover the private school tuition bill, up to 90 percent above the remaining amount.

Summer School, Too. In addition to covering more students at a higher rate, and promising additional state tax dollars to fill in any gap, the proposal opens the doors for private schools in the special needs voucher program to receive summer school funding, too.

Transportation Package Approved

The Joint Finance Committee met Tuesday and continued into Wednesday to finish its budget work after approving a GOP transportation package by a 12-4 vote that calls for cutting 200 DOT jobs and pre-empting some local regulations of quarries used for road and construction projects. The plan includes earmarks and fell well short of the long-term transpo fix Republicans have been promising, Dems said.

Joint Finance Committee takes up Foxconn

Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says the Senate will debate the Foxconn incentive package Sept. 12. If the Senate approves the amended bill, it goes to the Assembly before on to the governor.

Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee had this to say: “We are taking a foreign company, and we are giving them rights that Wisconsin companies don’t have,” Taylor said. “We’re allowing them to be excluded from our environmental rules that Wisconsin companies and Wisconsin individuals have to adhere to, and we’re allowing them to be excluded from our normal justice system. That’s what we’re doing.”

The Wisconsin court appeals process would be changed for Foxconn, under an amendment approved Tuesday by the Joint Finance Committee. Under the plan, the state Supreme Court would take jurisdiction over any appeal of a circuit court decision relating to the Foxconn project under an amendment Joint Finance Republicans proposed Tuesday. Under the proposal, any circuit court order related to a decision by a state or local official, board, commission or other entity would be stated automatically upon the filing of an appeal. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau said it was unaware of any similar provision applying to a particular company or enterprise zone such as the one created for Foxconn. Dems said changes in the bill would mean those same changes could apply to new manufacturers across Wisconsin. That would mean undercutting economic zone regulations and environmental protections for the entire state, not just the area about the planned Foxconn plant.

Prevailing Wage

Two years after the Legislature pushed through the repeal of the local prevailing wage in the dark of night, Republican politicians are at it again. The transportation budget introduced late Tuesday with limited debate, and approved among a party-line vote, calls for a complete repeal of Wisconsin’s Prevailing Wage statutes: continuing the repeal of the local prevailing wage statute and repealing prevailing wage statutes for both state building projects and state highway projects. The repeal would first apply to a request for bids issued on or after September 1, 2018 or for contracts with no bid requirements entered into on September 1, 2018.

As harmful as the measure would be to working families, it’s no surprise. The governor’s original budget included the full repeal of Prevailing Wage statutes. Two The Joint Finance Committee had pulled his proposal, prompting legislators to introduce their own bills to kill the fair wage laws. And now, the same committee has snuck the plan back into the budget it’s moving forward.

WEAC continues to monitor legislative activity and the impact on educators and working families. Look for our updates and encourage your colleagues to sign up for them as well. Direct your questions to communications@weac.org.

 

ALEC conference continues group’s focus on undermining public schools, Rep. Chris Taylor says

State Representative Chris Taylor

State Representative Chris Taylor, a Democrat from Madison, just got back from another American Legislative Exchange Council conference, and concluded: “The issue of the moment for ALEC is public education — that is, undermining it.”

It’s unusual for a Democrat to attend an ALEC conference, but Taylor has been doing so for years, “to see for myself how this right-wing group crafts model legislation to advance the interests of its corporate and ideological funders,” she writes in a Progressive Magazine column.

“ALEC members are foaming at the mouth for the now-endless opportunities to further privatize public schools, long a central goal,” she writes, noting that the keynote speaker was U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who focused her remarks on expanding school privatization efforts.

Taylor concludes:

“For ALEC, it is all about tearing down our public-school infrastructure so corporate privatization efforts can move in and make a buck.

“What you never hear at ALEC is any discussion about improving public education. There is never a mention of smaller class sizes, community schools, or recruiting and retaining a diverse pool of the best and brightest teachers.”

Read her entire column in The Progressive:

ALEC’s Attack on Public Education: A Report from the Frontlines

I arrived earlier this month to the forty-fourth annual conference of American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in Denver to the best possible greeting-scores of protesters marching around the host hotel. Yellow tape and police barricades blocked all visible entrances. I joined the protesters for a while before I ducked under some yellow tape and entered the hotel.

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NAACP calls for elimination of for-profit charter schools

In a highly anticipated report, the NAACP Wednesday called for elimination of for-profit charter schools and more equitable funding for all schools serving students of color.

“No federal, state, or local taxpayer dollars should be used to fund for-profit charter schools, nor should public funding be sent from nonprofit charters to for-profit charter management companies,” the organization says in its report titled Quality Education for All: One School at a Time. “The widespread findings of misconduct and poor student performance in for-profit charter schools demand the elimination of these schools. Moreover, allowing for-profit entities to operate schools creates an inherent conflict of interest.”

The Task Force also recommends:

  • More equitable and adequate funding for all schools serving students of color. Education funding has been inadequate and unequal for students of color for hundreds of years. The United States has one of the most unequal school funding systems of any country in the industrialized world. Resources are highly unequal across states, across districts, and across schools, and they have declined in many communities over the last decade. In 36 states, public school funding has not yet returned to pre-2008 levels – before the great recession, and in many states, inner city schools have experienced the deepest cuts. Federal funds have also declined in real dollar terms for both Title I and for special education expenditures over the last decade.
  • School finance reform. To solve the quality education problems that are at the root of many of the issues, school finance reform is essential to ensure that resources are allocated according to student needs. States should undertake the kinds of weighted student formula reforms that Massachusetts and California have pursued, and the federal government should fully enforce the funding-equity provisions in Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
  • Investing in low-performing schools and schools with significant opportunity to close the achievement gap. Students learn in safe, supportive, and challenging learning environments under the tutelage of well-prepared, caring adults. Participants in every hearing stressed the importance of the type of classroom investments that have consistently been shown to raise student achievement. To ensure that all students receive a high-quality education, federal, state, and local policies need to sufficiently invest in:
    • (1) incentives that attract and retain fully qualified educators,
    • (2) improvements in instructional quality that include creating challenging and inclusive learning environments; and
    • (3) wraparound services for young people, including early childhood education, health and mental health services, extended learning time, and social supports.
  • Mandate a rigorous authoring and renewal process for charters. One way that states and districts can maintain accountability for charter schools is through their regulation of the organizations that authorize charter schools. States with the fewest authorizers have been found to have the strongest charter school outcomes. To do this, states should allow only districts to serve as authorizers, empower those districts to reject applications that do not meet standards, and establish policies for serious and consistent oversight.

Read more at educationvotes.org:

NAACP seeks to ban for-profit charter schools and increase local control – Education Votes

Tell lawmakers it’s time for tougher standards and more oversight and accountability for charter schools. Click here › The NAACP, one of the nation’s most prominent civil rights groups, released a major report on charter schools today.

Read more at politico.com:

NAACP report finds ‘wide range of problems’ with charter schools

NAACP REPORT FINDS ‘WIDE RANGE OF PROBLEMS’ WITH CHARTER SCHOOLS: After calling for a moratorium on charter school expansion last year, the NAACP today is releasing a highly anticipated report that calls for the elimination of for-profit charter school operators.

Legislative Update – July 27

WEAC Legislative Update

An Assembly bill (AB-452) referred to the education committee would terminate Wisconsin’s voucher program, including special needs vouchers, and repeal the achievement gap reduction program. Instead, the bill calls for expanding the student achievement guarantee program (SAGE).

Foxconn and the budget

The Foxconn deal was unveiled Wednesday by the U.S. president and Wisconsin governor. Wisconsin Dems urged caution, demanding that the corporation adhere to promises it makes about the number and quality of jobs and workplace safety. Here are the brass tacks about the tax credits totaling up to $3 billion over 15 years, provided by the WI Economic Development Corp.

  • The Foxconn investment is the state’s largest economic development project.
  • The factory floor area will be 20 million square feet.
  • The average salary will be $53,875 plus benefits.
  • The project requires an estimated $10 billion of capital investment to construct the facility.
  • Of the $10 billion, $5.7 billion will be sourced from Wisconsin businesses.
  • The project is estimated to include 13,000 jobs directly at Foxconn and 22,000 indirect and induced jobs.
  • The project is estimated to generate $181 million in state and local tax revenues annually, including $60 million in local property taxes.
  • Foxconn plans to be operational in 2020.
  • There will be a memorandum of understanding that will outline terms of the incentives based on expected job creation and capital investment.
  • The contract will contain clawbacks that will require the company to pay back tax credits if the jobs and investment are not kept in Wisconsin.
  • The Tax Incremental Financing District tools available to the municipality where this is located will be expanded to ensure the capital available for local infrastructure.

A special session will be called to pass an incentive package.  The WEDC document says:

  • Tax incentives will be tied to actual performance.
  • Foxconn will be eligible to earn incentives based on its actual job creation and capital investment.
  • Foxconn will be eligible for a sales tax holiday for the purchase of construction materials.
  • Incentives are projected to cost between $200 million and $250 million a year.
  • Once fully staffed, Foxconn’s payroll will be estimated at $700 million a year.
  • The maximum amount of credits Foxconn will be eligible to earn is $3 billion over 15 years:
    • Up to $1.5 billion in state income tax credits for job creation.
    • Up to $1.35 billion in state income tax credits for capital investment.
    • Up to $150 million for the sales and use tax exemption (sales tax holiday).

Public schools, taxpayers would pay greater share of voucher costs under new state budget plan

Legislative Update – July 26

Taxpayers would see the price tag for school vouchers triple under the Senate budget plan, the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau has discovered. Senate Democrats called out the proposed shift of the costs of the unaccountable voucher program onto local taxpayers.

For the Racine and statewide school choice programs in the 2015-17 biennium, state aid to public schools was reduced by $43.1 million. Under the Senate Republican plan for the 2017-19 biennium, aid is estimated to be reduced by $120.3 million, nearly three times the amount over the last budget. But according to the Department of Public Instruction, districts are given a non-recurring revenue limit exemption, allowing them to make up the aid reductions through a combination of property taxes and school aid. In part, that’s caused by the Senate proposal to increase the income limits for receiving a taxpayer-funded private school tuition subsidy. Under their plan, families at 220 percent of the federal poverty level would qualify – including far more students than those in poverty.

Under Governor Scott Walker’s education budget, vouchers would siphon $101.5 million from public schools. Neither option is best for Wisconsin students, WEAC President Ron Martin said. Instead, that funding should be restored to the public schools serving all children, no matter where they live or what their family circumstances are.

School districts would pay for large share of vouchers under plan, fiscal bureau says

A budget plan proposed by Senate Republicans would increase funding for the state’s three main private school voucher programs by nearly $60 million over the next two years, according to an analysis by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau made public on Tuesday.