Support for Private School Vouchers in Milwaukee, Cuts to K-12 Public Schools Pays Off for Gudex’s Campaign

Special Interest Group Takes to TV Airwaves to Support Candidate That Supports Them over Local Schools

MADISON, Wis. — Spending more state taxpayer dollars on private school vouchers in Milwaukee while hitting K-12 public schools with record budget cuts isn’t paying off for public school children. But, according to One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross, supporting these policies is paying off for Rick Gudex’s political campaign.

“Rick Gudex has publicly said he supports a right-wing agenda that includes more money for private school vouchers in Milwaukee and millions in cuts to K-12 public schools. Now comes the payoff, big spending on his behalf by out-of-state special interests,” commented Ross.

Gudex declared he “stand[s] by” policies in the state budget like boosting taxpayer funding for private school vouchers in Milwaukee by $35 million while slashing over $35.3 million in funding for the Fond du Lac and Oshkosh school districts alone and over $82 million for area school districts combined.

According to files maintained by local television stations and cable companies, the pro-private school voucher special interest group the American Federation for Children has thus far spent over $114,000 for one week of television ads in support of Wisconsin State Senate candidate Rick Gudex.

The group behind the television advertising, the American Federation for Children (AFC), is funded in large part by large donations from out-of-state millionaires and billionaires like the Walton family of Wal-Mart fame and Dick and Betsy DeVos of the Amway fortune. The disgraced former Republican Speaker of the State Assembly, Scott Jensen, is the reputed to be the primary manager of AFC’s Wisconsin political activity. A previous iteration of AFC, All Children Matter, was fined over $5 million for illegally funneling campaign cash from Virginia to Ohio and found to have violated election laws in a State Senate race in Wisconsin in 2008.

“Rick Gudex supports selling out public school kids from Fond du Lac to Oshkosh to fund the pet project of out-of-state millionaires and billionaires, and they return they favor with tens of thousands of dollars in television ads on his behalf. This deal stinks all the way around,” concluded Ross.

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