Endangering equal opportunities for students with disabilities

Special education vouchers are taxpayer funding that can be used to pay for tuition at private schools for students with disabilities. Governor Walker’s state budget proposal expands these vouchers to districts statewide.

How would special education vouchers impact Madison schools & families?

Jeopardize legal rights
Children are guaranteed certain rights and protections in public schools under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. By using special needs vouchers in a private school, those protections are not guaranteed to families.

Taking resources away from public school services for special education Special needs vouchers would take taxpayer funding out of public schools, harming the services we provide to students with disabilities who remain in our schools. Over the next five years, Madison could lose $1.7 million to pay for special education vouchers.

Endanger equal opportunities for students with disabilities Private voucher schools are not required to accept any student. For example, a private school could turn away students with more severe disabilities but still receive taxpayer funding for other students. That would put in danger programs for students with disabilities who remain in Madison schools. Voucher schools are also not required to employ special education teachers or therapists. A recent poll disseminated by statewide disability organizations showed 88% opposition to special needs vouchers in Wisconsin.

Taxpayers lose accountability
Unlike Madison’s public schools, private voucher schools are not currently held accountable through the same state tests or required to serve the needs of all students.There is also no income cap for families to use special education vouchers, meaning the gap between lower income students and others could increase.

Are private voucher schools...
checkmark required to accept every student, regardless of disability?
checkmark required to hire special education teachers or therapists?
checkmark required, under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act,
to provide legal rights and protections including an individual
education program for each student?

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