Dear Editor: Recently, the Wisconsin State Journal published a column written by School Choice Wisconsin President Jim Bender. This column highlighted the report card score of Lighthouse Christian — a Madison voucher school. While the efforts of these students, teachers and administrators are worthy of recognition, it is important not to forget the unfortunate truths of how this voucher program is paid for and where taxpayer money goes.
Lighthouse Christian School lists their tuition for K-8 at $6,325 per year, a minus Lighthouse Church endowment scholarship of $3,525, equaling a yearly cost of $2,800 per student. The current payment for the statewide voucher program is $7,954, which is funded by an aid reduction by the pupil’s resident school district. According to data from the Department of Public Instruction, Lighthouse Christian will be paid an estimated $836,760.80 for their 105.2 voucher students. If Lighthouse Christian advertises a yearly cost of $2,800 for the 105.2 students, the result is $294,560 in costs to educate these students. This means that Lighthouse Christian walks away with the excess of $542,200 subsidized by the taxpayers. Profits to a religious organization funded by your tax dollars.
The voucher program was created two decades ago under the guise of giving students more educational opportunities. Today, this unchecked and expanding competing voucher system has not proven to be any more effective than public schools. It’s time we reclaim these profits, stop voucher expansion and reinvest in our public schools.
Rep. Sondy Pope
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