- Associated Press - Friday, February 5, 2016

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - An Assembly committee has postponed a vote on a plan to limit school districts’ taxing authority to offset lost state aide when voucher students leave.

The Wisconsin State Journal reported Friday (https://bit.ly/1K2Fj0K ) that Speaker Robin Vos introduced the measure Wednesday as an amendment to another voucher school bill. The Assembly Education Committee was scheduled to vote on the amendment Thursday but Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt, the chairman, decided to hold off less than an hour before the vote.

Thiesfeldt aide Hariah Hutkowski said the vote was canceled to work out “logistics and concerns.” The vote could take place next week, he said.

The state voucher program subsidizes private school tuition and includes about 2,500 students across the state. The state funds the subsidies by reducing aid to school districts that lose students to voucher schools. Districts lose $7,214 in aid for each student in kindergarten through eighth grade who leave to attend a voucher school and $7,860 for high school students who leave for a voucher school.

Districts can make up that lost revenue and more by raising property taxes, however. The newspaper reported that schools raised nearly $20 million this academic year to offset lost aid due to the voucher program.

Vos, a Rochester Republican, told the State Journal that funding formula, established in the current state budget, was a “misdrafting” that resulted in property tax hikes in some districts. His spokeswoman, Kit Beyer, said the new proposal would limit districts’ ability to raise taxes for a student they’re not educating.

Wisconsin Association of School Boards lobbyist Dan Rossmiller said the limitations could result in multi-million dollar revenue losses for districts with high numbers of voucher students.

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