State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.
Last week, during the final stages of its budget deliberations, the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee (JFC) that is controlled by Democrats took punitive action against
The National Review noted the significance of the
And that’s why the JFC approved numerous provisions in a large omnibus motion to gut school choice. The Wall Street Journal writes:
In the final hours of their budget discussions, the JFC embarked on a carefully orchestrated assault on school choice with the following provisions:
- Choice schools could be required to administer the 4th, 8th, and 10th grade knowledge and concepts examination approved by the state Superintendent.
- Credentials would be required for choice school staff.
- Teacher’s aides at choice schools must have graduated from high school, been granted a declaration of equivalency of high school graduation, or been issued a general education development certificate of high school equivalency.
- Choice schools that have already been accredited would have to meet additional accreditation requirements.
- Choice schools with enrollments of more than 10% limited-English proficient pupils would be required to have a bilingual-bicultural education program.
- A priority list would be created that would take precedence over the current law provision that choice schools accept pupils on a random basis.
- Funding would be cut from choice schools under a reestimate of program participation.
- The per pupil amount of funding would be cut for choice students by $165.
- High poverty aid would be increased, allowing MPS to receive an additional $9.9 million annually.
- The MPS aid reduction related the choice program would be cut from the current law 45 per cent to 41.6 per cent during 2009-2010 and 38.4 per cent during 2010-11 and thereafter.
- When choice pupils transfer to MPS in mid-year after a school closing, MPS would receive the state’s share of any choice payments for that school year that have not been paid to the choice school on behalf of that pupil.
- An additional count date for MPS on the first Friday in May will be used to calculate state aid.
- There are also provisions pertaining to transfer of records and required meetings.
You can see the various provisions that were contained in this omnibus motion that was approved along party lines.
It is clear the JFC meant to punish school choice with measures designed to systematically unravel and eradicate the program.
You can read the National Review’s take here and the Wall Street Journal piece here.
The National Review sums it up best:
“Sometimes onerous regulations are at least well-intentioned blunders. Not these. The enemies of school choice in