Facts About Vouchers

Recent Voucher Referenda in Other States

  • In California, the ballot initiative defeated in November 2000 would have provided voucher eligibility for public school students regardless of their family’s wealth. Although eligibility for private school students would have been phased in after the first year, all K-12 students in the state would have been entitled to receive money for private school at public expense, even if they had never attended public school. The potential cost for private school students alone was estimated at $3.2 billion—representing an entirely new cost for taxpayers.17 The California ballot initiative was decisively defeated by 64% of voters.18
  • Though billed by voucher advocates as a program targeted to low-income students, the Michigan voucher ballot initiative defeated in November 2000 contained a clause that would have allowed any school district to join the program, regardless of the district’s wealth.19 The initiative also would have given a voucher to students already in private schools without considering family wealth.20 Like the California ballot initiative, 69% of Michigan’s voters rejected the voucher measure.21
  • In Pennsylvania, the Southeast Delco district school board approved a voucher plan in 1998 that would have paid private school parents to keep their children out of public schools.22 The plan, which was struck down in court, had no income cap at all and was designed as relief for the parents of the 1,900 students already in private schools.23
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