An important thing to understand about Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal for making an unlimited number of private school tuition vouchers available across Wisconsin is how unattractive, as a practical matter, his plan is to the schools that it could serve.
An upcoming gusher of private school vouchers? More likely, as it stands, it would mean a modest increase at most, and it might even be a setback.
Statewide uncapped vouchers would be something Walker could promote as an accomplishment —perhaps in Iowa or New Hampshire or to potential donors to a presidential campaign.
But as a practical matter? Look at the specifics.
Consider the predicament of HOPE Via, a Christian school that has been on track to open in Racine this fall. Part of the HOPE network that has five schools in Milwaukee, HOPE Via has obtained a building on Racine’s north side and hired a principal and managing director. School leaders were working on hiring teachers, enrolling students and launching a remodeling of the building.
Then came Walker’s budget message on Feb. 3.
This gets technical quickly, but, in short, the proposal envisions a new way of paying for vouchers, other than in Milwaukee, where things would stay basically as is.
Until now, voucher money has come from a separate state appropriation. Walker proposed taking it from the state aid that would have been sent to each school district if the child involved were attending a public school there.