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As I See It

Referendum on voucher schools?



School referendums are in the sights of some Wisconsin lawmakers. They want to make it harder for public school districts to hold referendums, considering legislation that would limit how often and for what reason they could ask voters to approve more money for education. These lawmakers also want to punish school districts which do approve referendums, withholding a portion of their state aid. Of course, this makes no sense. If voters in the La Crosse school district or elsewhere place a high value one education, and are willing to pay more to support it, that should be up to them. They know better than some legislator from Brookfield. But the focus seems to be only on public schools. What about voucher schools? They are expanding in the state, and taxpayers are funding them. In fact, these voucher schools get more state aid money than public schools, and now the money that goes to private schools is coming directly from public school budgets. So another group of lawmakers think what is good for the goose is good for the gander. They hope to approve a law that would only allow the state to take money from public schools and give it to private schools if voters in that district approved it in a referendum. This would not end voucher schools, it would simply level the playing field. Because if we get to have a say on how public school dollars are spent, we should also get a say on how our tax money is spent on private schools.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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