MADISON – Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) – the combined state chamber and manufacturers’ association – called on policymakers Thursday to support increased funding for choice and charter schools. In addition to having support from a broad coalition of advocacy organizations, a new poll conducted by WMC Foundation – an affiliate of WMC – showed Wisconsin voters overwhelmingly believe there should be equitable funding for public, choice and charter schools.
Currently, public schools receive roughly $15,000 per student from Wisconsin taxpayers. However, if a family chooses to send their child to a choice or charter school, that funding drops to roughly $9,000 on average. When asked about the proposal to narrow the funding gap between the different types of schools, 59 percent of respondents said they would support such a bill.
“Tens of thousands of Wisconsin families choose to send their children to choice and charter schools around the state, and every kid should be treated the same when it comes to funding,” said WMC Senior Director of Workforce, Education & Employment Policy Rachel Ver Velde. “Narrowing the funding gap in our education system will ensure our state is supporting all students no matter which school they choose to attend.”
While the poll found strong support for narrowing the funding gap, a majority also believes funding should be equal for all school types. Fifty-six percent of Wisconsinites believe funding for choice and charter schools should be equal to what public schools receive.
In addition to funding equity, the poll also found strong support for school choice. Seventy percent of respondents said they support school choice, including a majority Republicans, Independents and Democrats.
“School choice is becoming more and more popular in Wisconsin,” added Ver Velde. “It is time we have conversations across party lines about expanding educational options for families and ensuring equitable funding follows the student to the school of their choice.”
The WMC Foundation poll also found that Wisconsinites underestimate the amount of funding public schools receive, while overestimating students’ academic achievement. Additionally, 74 percent of respondents said they would oppose the state Supreme Court striking down Wisconsin’s school choice program.