As documented in this report, approximately 40 percent of the money paid by Wisconsin taxpayers to private voucher schools in Milwaukee last year – more than $11 million out of a $28.4 million program – constituted an overpayment over and above what private citizens or foundations would pay for the same services. This year, the voucher program cost will grow to an estimated $38.8 million, and taxpayer subsidies and overpayments to religious and other voucher schools will grow right along with it.
Particularly at a time when public education dollars are more urgently needed than ever, there can be no excuse for this multi-million dollar overpayment, even for those who support the Milwaukee voucher program. This overpayment results not from any action by the voucher schools or state administrators, but instead from the payment formula built into the state voucher legislation. The state legislature should immediately review this data and the present payment formula and revise that formula so that, if the voucher program is to continue, voucher schools are paid no more than tuition for voucher students. There is simply no reason why Wisconsin taxpayers should pay more than private citizens for private school vouchers under this controversial program.