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Eau Claire lawmaker proposes phasing out voucher system

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McDonell and Notre Dame

Chippewa Valley (WQOW) - A new bill proposed by an Eau Claire representative could put more of residents' tax dollars toward public schools.

Rep. Jodi Emerson (D-Eau Claire) co-authored the legislation called the Public Education Reinvestment Act.

The bill would phase out Wisconsin's voucher school program which allows families to enroll their children in private schools and receive tuition assistance through tax dollars.

Under the bill, those funds would be re-invested in public education.

Emerson said there is a critical need for the bill because the current allocation of funds is spreading public schools thin.

"You take two kids out of each classroom. That doesn't equate to having one teacher gone or something like that it just means less funding for books and computers and supplies and funding for these teachers and support staff," Emerson said.

Wisconsin was the first state to enact the voucher program. A spokesperson for McDonell Catholic Schools in Chippewa Falls said the voucher program benefits over 100 of their students, adding that it gives families in their area the freedom to choose the education that's best for their children.

McDonell has received nearly $1.2 million from the state due to the voucher program.

Eau Claire Regis has received almost $1.5 million for its 182 students in the program.

Mary Pautsch

Mary came to News 18 in July 2019 from Sioux City, Iowa where she graduated from Morningside College with a BA in Spanish after attending Iowa State University for 3 years.

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