Total Taxpayer Bill for Tuition Surcharges
to Religious, Non-Religious, and All Voucher Schools
(Data for Schools Receiving Tuition Surcharges Only)
Table 4 shows the dramatic increase in the voucher surcharge (tuition overpayment) with which taxpayers were burdened. The surcharge climbed from $11.5 million in 1998-1999 to $16.4 million in 1999-2000. Over the course of these two years, approximately $27.9 million was charged to Wisconsin taxpayers for these tuition overpayments-an amount that is approximately equal to the total cost of the entire voucher program in 1998-1999. And nearly three-quarters of that overpayment-$9 million in the first year and $11.3 million in the second-has subsidized religious school budgets.
Of the 75 schools receiving an overpayment in 1999-2000, 61 are religious, receiving more than $11 million in overpayments. That averages to more than $185,000 in overpayments per religious school. Since voucher schools are not accountable to the public for how they spend their money, it is not possible to discern how religious schools have used these public dollars. Specifically, there is nothing to prevent religious schools from using these additional state dollars to subsidize the tuition of their non-voucher students. Similarly, these overpayments could be used by religious schools to pay for the construction of a new chapel or to purchase bibles. Using public tax dollars to support or otherwise proselytize religion or religious activities is contrary to the fundamental American principles of religious liberty.
Cost of Tuition
Cost of Tuition