GREEN BAY - The battle over how to improve Wisconsin schools continues.
The Green Bay School Board is publicly opposing Governor Walker's proposed expansion of the school voucher program to its schools. Vouchers allow students from public schools to use taxpayer dollars to attend private schools.
But some parents say vouchers could level the playing field.
On Friday, Green Bay Area Public Schools released a letter from its board speaking out against a voucher expansion.
"It's complicated. It sounds on the surface very simple. Give people a choice of going to a different school but the changes and effects of funding could be tremendous to our schools," said Brenda Warren, the Green Bay Area Public Schools Board of Education President.
Warren says a voucher program could cost taxpayers an extra six thousand dollars per student, and force property taxes up.
Some private school officials say vouchers make education competitive, just like the business world.
"If the parents at the school are dissatisfied at the education the children are receiving, the parents can take this voucher and take the student elsewhere. This will force the public school system to perform," said Saied Assef. Assef is Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin International School in De Pere.
This letter from the school district also says it's not happy with a zero percent increase in across the board public school funding. We did a FOX 11 Fact Check. If you look at these figures in the state budget proposal, that is correct. However, funding for other areas of education, like voucher programs, increases.
Green Bay schools say a lack of extra funding in the budget will create at least a $5 million deficit.
But, there's another plan out there. Republican State Senators Michael Ellis and Luther Olsen are working on a bill to increase public school funding for all public schools. Total funding would go up $380 million over three years.
Ellis says he's also opposed to vouchers in Green Bay.
"I'm not opposed to private schools, and I'm not opposed to failing public schools having an option. But most of our public schools don't need that and we have to protect that first," said Ellis.
FOX 11 attempted to reach other area legislators for their views on vouchers. However, our calls were not returned.
People on all sides of the school funding issue say they hope parents and taxpayers will join their discussion.
Senator Ellis says he plans to introduce his bill in Madison soon. The Legislature still has to debate Governor Walker's budget proposal before it is approved.
Public hearings on the budget are scheduled to begin next month.
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