Taxpayers have no voice in private charter schools, Green Bay teacher Lori Cathey says

The proposed expansion of taxpayer-funded private charter schools leaves taxpayers with no voice. That was the message Tuesday from Green Bay Education Association President Lori Cathey, who was interviewed by Fox 11 in Green Bay.

She noted that democratically elected school boards set policy and are held accountable for public schools. Students in public schools have to take specific tests, and the schools must report attendance and results to the Department of Public Instruction. “And the taxpayers can always go to the school board and say, ‘what’s going on here?’ That won’t be the case in private charter schools,” said Cathey.

In addition, public schools will lose funding when children transfer to unaccountable charter schools.

The proposed expansion of taxpayer-funded private charter schools has been approved by the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee as part of the state budget. The Senate and Assembly still must vote on the budget.

Here is some background on the proposed expansion of private charter schools:

What does it do?
This plan would allow politicians to open tax-funded private charter schools in over 100 different school districts across the state without any accountability to parents and no oversight by taxpayers.

Why is that a bad idea?
This plan would take funding away from our neighborhood public schools to open new schools throughout the state.

  1. Taxpayers don’t have any say on whether a school is in their community.
  2. Public schools are already seeing cuts in funding, this makes things worse over the long run.
  3. There’s no oversight. There’s nothing in the law to hold these schools accountable.

How many privately run charter schools could be opened?
More than 140, maybe as many as 177.

Who could start privately run (independent) charter schools?

  • The University of Wisconsin System President could appoint someone to approve independent charter schools in Milwaukee and Madison.
  • And other agencies could approve charter schools in more than 140 school districts including:
    • The Waukesha County executive
    • Tribal colleges
    • Gateway Technical College in Kenosha

Doesn’t this create more opportunities?
No. To provide opportunities for the most Wisconsin students, lawmakers should invest in public schools that serve all students. This is another way the Legislature is taking away from public schools.

What’s the worst thing about this?
Politicians are handing over the power and authority for local tax dollars to unelected and unaccountable individuals and groups that will impact local school funding and property taxes. It would place private charter schools in our communities without our say and then require us to pay from them, on top of what will be required to pay for private school vouchers.

What can I do?
Use the WEAC Cyberlobby to contact your legislators now and tell them to vote against this and other anti-public education provisions in the state budget. Tell them why they need to support public education. Also, check the weac.org Events page for upcoming grassroots events.

Fox11 video: