About two weeks ago.
state lawmakers introduced an
updated special needs voucher program.
It would give special needs students
the opportunity to attend private schools .
but it comes at a price for taxpayers
News 8's Brittany Schmidt joins us now with a closer look.
Those in support of the bill say it would
allow parents to choose which school their child would
go to, whether public or private,...based on their child's specific needs.
However, opponents believe it would be taking money
out of an already underfunded program in public schools.
I think it is significantly a bad idea.
The special needs voucher program would provide funding
for kids with special needs to attend private schools....
but it comes with a price tag...
EVERS -- we are essentially pulling money out of
the public school system which is struggling to begin with.
And it could hurt the students with
disabilities who remain in the public school system...
State superintendent Tony Evers says families who
choose to use a voucher would have
to give up certain rights at the door.
They surrender all of their federal and state
rights that they have in the public school system.
Private schools are not rquired to follow federal
disability laws or provide special education services..
We've had horror stories from other states
that have done this where students are
essentially warehoused and not receiving an appropriate education.
However, the President of Aquinas Catholic Schools
says there is often a misconception that
they don't deal with special needs students.
We have students who have reading disabilities, who have dislexia, we have students who
have aspergers, we have students who have autism, we have students who have
needs who we are working very effectively with parents and professional educators to meet those needs.
Nelson says the voucher program would only
help the family find the best resources.
it provides the option first through the regular public school open enrollment and
if that option doesn't work for a family, rather than being a dead
end, it still gives them some opportunities to meet the needs of their child.
But either way, both educators say they
want what is best for the kids.
We want to be very upfront with parents and say this is what we
can offer, sometimes that meets their needs and sometimes the parents realize that their
child needs more resources than that and they can get that at a different school.
I think we do a very good
job in trying to meet those needs.
In La Crosse, Brittany Schmidt, News 8
Right now, with the open enrollment
system, students with disabilities do have
the right to move within different school districts.
The proposed measure has been
referred to the Committee of Education.