Another Misleading Press Release on Education Funding

Comparing State Funding Only Creates Erroneous Conclusions

In response to the latest press release from school choice opponents, a little context is needed. Unfortunately, those protecting the status quo use a narrow set of data to create a false narrative.

Funding for public K12 schools in Wisconsin contains many different streams including state equalized aid, local property taxes, state categorical aids and federal aids. Funding for the Parental Choice Programs contain only one – direct state aid.

So when funding comparisons are made, they need to include all aspects of funding, not just state aid. The press release today tries to create the impression that students in the Parental Choice Programs receive more funding than students in a traditional public school. This is simply false.

The revenue limit on traditional public schools alone – the combination of state equalized aid and property taxes – was $10,312 for 2016. The voucher amount, even at the end of this budget, will be $7,757 for grades K-8 and $8,403 for high school.

Additionally, categorical and federal aids will put an additional $2,000 per student into traditional public schools. When compared in full, students in the Parental Choice Programs will receive thousands of dollars less per child than a student in a traditional public school.

The increase for the voucher amount is tied directly to the overall increase in public education spending. In other words, the voucher only increases, as a matter of law, the same amount as traditional public school funding.


The American Federation for Children is the nation’s leading school choice advocacy organization and works in states across the country to help secure additional, high-quality educational options for families.

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