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ERIC Number: EJ819177
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1539-9664
Who Gains, Who Loses?: The Fiscal Impact of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program
Costrell, Robert M.
Education Next, v9 n1 p62-69 Win 2009
Do school vouchers save the taxpayer money, or do they add to taxpayer burdens? Which groups of taxpayers are most affected, and do they gain or lose? What is the financial impact on public school districts? Usually, these questions are debated in the abstract. Now it is possible to get more concrete answers from the nation's longest-running school voucher initiative, the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP) in Wisconsin. The fiscal impact of that program has been a matter of dispute. According to school choice supporters, such as Marquette University professor and former Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) superintendent Howard Fuller, MPCP saves the taxpayers considerable cash, as the voucher is smaller than per-pupil spending by MPS. But Wisconsin state senator Russ Decker, a leading opponent of vouchers, has argued that the program gives money to children who would attend private schools anyway. Wisconsin's Legislative Fiscal Bureau, which conducts budget-related analyses for state legislators, has provided fodder to both sides of the Milwaukee voucher debate with periodic estimates of the financial impact of eliminating the program based on a wide range of assumptions regarding changes in public school enrollments. What has been the net fiscal impact of MPCP? Who has benefited and who has taken a hit as the program has grown? How has MPCP affected taxpayers statewide? Milwaukee taxpayers? In this analysis, the author shows that under most plausible scenarios the program has saved taxpayers money annually since 2000, with estimated savings reaching $31.9 million in 2008. The beneficiaries have been Wisconsin state taxpayers and property taxpayers outside of Milwaukee. Property taxpayers in Milwaukee, however, have seen their taxes go up, the result of legislative decisions on the MPCP funding formula made in the program's earliest days. (Contains 4 figures and 1 table.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Wisconsin