MADISON, Wis. — Less than twenty-four hours after the polls closed in the November 4 general election, Assembly GOP Speaker Robin Vos and Gov. Scott Walker called for a dramatically expanded private school voucher program in Wisconsin, financed with public tax dollars. According to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross, a news report revealing the pro-voucher group spent nearly $1 million in the fall campaigns and $4.5 million in Wisconsin since 2010 shows why it’s no coincidence that an expansion of the unaccountable taxpayer financed voucher program is on the short list of GOP legislative priorities.
“Under Gov. Walker and Assembly Speaker ‘Boss’ Vos the rule in state government is those who give, get. And those who don’t, don’t,” commented Ross. “Their willingness to auction off policy to the highest bidder has been effective at raising them gobs of campaign cash and keeping their special interest friends happy, but it’s no way to run a state.”
The Associated Press reported this weekend that the Washington D.C. based pro-voucher group the American Federation for Children spent heavily on behalf of GOP state legislative candidates and against Democratic candidates, close to $900,000 in the 2014 election cycle. Gov. Walker, whose final fundraising and spending tally for 2014 will likely not be available until January, has raked in at least $1.4 million in campaign cash from a primarily out-of-state ultra wealthy cabal of voucher supporters.
Immediately following the election, Vos conducted a number of media interviews in which he declared he would be seeking a “major expansion” of the voucher program that uses state taxpayer dollars to pay to send children to private schools. Gov. Walker included expanding the voucher program on a short list of agenda items he discussed at the public portion of a meeting with his cabinet on the day after the election.
Student achievement data has consistently shown that students in the private school voucher program perform no better than their peers in public schools. In addition, enrollment statistics have shown that the overwhelming result of an initial expansion of the voucher program statewide is that state taxpayers have picked up the tab for the tuition of students who were already attending private schools.
Ross concluded, “There is no better example of how transactional Wisconsin’s state government has become under Gov. Walker and ‘Boss’ Vos than the unaccountable private school voucher program. A wealthy cabal of right-wing ideologues and special interest groups that support the voucher program have filled the campaign coffers of Walker and Vos, and in return they can’t wait to throw our public dollars at private schools.”