Neenah Hosts Voucher Expansion Forum


The debate over school vouchers continues tonight in the Fox Valley, with a focus on how the proposal will affect students with special needs.

A Republican and a Democratic lawmaker will be on hand to hear from parents.

Besides expanding the voucher program to nine districts, Governor Scott Walker’s budget proposal would allow special needs students from around the state to use tax money to pay for private school tuition.

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The meeting in Neenah is expected to be small, with about 30 participants. State Sen. Mike Ellis (R-Neenah) will be on hand. He is one of his party’s most prominent lawmakers to speak out against Governor Scott Walker’s budget proposal to expand the voucher program to nine communities.

He will be joined by state Rep. Penny Bernard Schaber (D-Appleton).

Harriet Redman is organizing the event. Her twenty-year-old son is a “super senior” in the Appleton Area School District.

“My son is profoundly disabled, but he is in much better shape than had he not had that public education. Which down the road will save all taxpayers’ money, because he is much better able to handle the everyday needs he needs to deal with, and not rely so much on public-funded support.”

Redman is concerned that private schools may accept special needs students, and then return them to the public system without having to return the estimated $6,000 that the state provides. If that happens, she says it will drain the overall system and hurt people like her son who continue to use the public schools.