June 14, 2011

Assembly GOP Drops Green Bay Private School Scheme After One Wisconsin Now Open Records Request

Advocacy Groups Seeks Private School Industry Communications with Five Legislators

MADISON, Wis. — Assembly Republicans have backed down from a controversial plan to siphon millions per biennium from Green Bay public schools to support private schools, just days after One Wisconsin Now filed a comprehensive open records request with five top legislators seeking communications between their offices and numerous representatives of the school privatization industry.

“If Green Bay public school dollars remain in place to support Green Bay public school students, this is a win,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “We are even more interested now in our open records request to see how this scheme hastily evolved in the first place, and why it may have collapsed under impending public scrutiny.”

One Wisconsin Now filed the open records request with the offices of Sens. Robert Cowles, Alberta Darling and Luther Olsen, and Reps. John Nygren and Robin Vos. The request seeks appointment calendars, as well as correspondence and email communications between the legislative offices and numerous organizations within the school privatization industry and their confederates.

An example of the request filed with Sen. Cowles office is available at: http://www.onewisconsinnow.org/blog/One%20WI%20Now%20Cowles%20ORR.pdf

One Wisconsin Now filed the request after an odd series of circumstances that occurred during the waning days of the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee. The GOP-controlled JFC passed an omnibus motion for education that included expansion of private school dollars to Racine and other areas on Thursday, June 3. Then suddenly the following day after all education matters had been done, Republicans passed a motion to expand school privatization into Green Bay.

Among the organizations One Wisconsin Now asked for communications regarding include: the American Federation for Children, School Choice Wisconsin, Education Action Group Foundation, Wisconsin Charter Schools Association and the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.

“Republicans are gutting funds for public education by $1.6 billion, but they are pumping tens of millions of dollars more to support private schools,” said Ross. “Taxpayers deserve to know how Green Bay kids were suddenly facing millions more in lost funding because of arm-twisting and backroom deals.”

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One Wisconsin Now is a statewide communications network specializing in effective earned media and online organizing to advance progressive leadership and values.

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