Action Alert: What you can do to stop School Privatization in Wisconsin

June 3, 2013
Institute for Wisconsin's Future

From the Institute for Wisconsin's Future:

JFC close to secret deal on vouchers; vote could be yet today …… it’s time to act again!

Folks …. we are in crisis mode!

There is one thing for sure about the budget process in the state of Wisconsin: Nothing is for sure and secret deals can change the course the state takes for decades to come.

It is being widely reported that Republicans have reached a behind-closed-door deal to expand vouchers statewide. Don’t be fooled, this is not a good deal for Wisconsin’s 424 public school districts, 870,000 public school children, or the communities of Wisconsin.

According to state school Superintendent Tony Evers, “While the current proposal includes an initial enrollment cap, past history clearly demonstrates those are temporary at best. We estimate that vouchers on a statewide scale could ultimately cost up to $1.9 billion annually, further diverting scarce resources away from public schools and increasing local property taxes.”

This is being written at 1:10 p.m. on Thursday, May 30. The Joint Finance Committee has recessed until 2 p.m. — at which time they could vote on and pass this sweeping and secret deal which was never presented to the voters, taxpayers, and citizens of Wisconsin.

What you can do:

So, if you haven’t contacted key legislators, you still have time. Below you will find contact information for the Governor, JFC members (we’ve added their Twitter hash tags to give you one more opportunity), and Republican legislative leadership. If you’ve already made these contacts, contact them again. It is that important.

If a deal is reach, a group of Republican Senators who are considered friends of public education will be key. It was thought they would hold the line on voucher expansion. Now, the gloves seem to be off and no one knows.

Contact them and say thanks for their words until now but make absolutely sure they understand you will hold them accountable for doing the right thing for the kids of Wisconsin:

We now know it does make a difference. Don’t be left at the end of the day wishing you had done more.

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It’s definitely worth contact the GOP legislative leadership team:

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It’s crunch time for Wisconsin’s public schools: The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee (JFC) is due to take up K-12 issues — including state aid, the revenue limit, vouchers, and for-profit charter schools soon. The budget they are considering has no increase in resources for our public classrooms and, instead, expands the use of tax dollars for private schools.

If ever you wanted to act, now is the time.

If passed as presented, the 2013-15 budget will leave the finance committee and head to the full Legislature as one of the worst budgets for public schools on record. Even some of the compromises are harmful. You need to contact members of the committee and deliver loudly and clearly a very simple message:

  • Revenue limits must be increased by at least $275 per pupil so that we can start filling the hole in resources created by cuts in the 2011-13 budget and begin reinvesting in our public school children.
  • Take all items related to private school vouchers, for-profit charters, and the charter authorizing board out of the budget because they are policy items, have nothing to do with the state’s finances, and deserve separate and open debate.

Again, here’s what you can do:

More Info: