We believe that the way to build and strengthen a world-class public school system is to make sure that public schools are adequately resourced. We believe that public tax dollars should not be diverted for vouchers to go into private schools. We think investment in our public schools is the best policy choice for our kids, our communities, and our schools.
Vouchers are a form of privatization, i.e., turning over public tax dollars to private entities to educate kids. This is the standard definition – see, for example, the use of terms here or here.
During the campaign, candidates and now board members Bartholomew, Burgos, Cash, Curlee, Emerson, and Galbreath* clearly and personally indicated on multiple occasions that they were FOR vouchers.
• At the 7/10 Clapham forum, they all raised their hands without hesitation when asked, “Do you support a voucher system in Williamson County?” [video]
• On the July Williamson County Republican Party questionnaire, each of the new School Board members expressed support for vouchers.
(*On 9/11/14, a WCS parent emailed a very direct question to the new School Board members: “Do you support school privatization in Williamson County? Yes or no.” Only Jay Galbreath responded. After doing more research, he stated that he does not support vouchers and charters in Williamson County.)
Despite the overt support for vouchers outlined above, several board members now seem to indicate that the idea that they support vouchers and/or privatization is laughable if not malicious.
Most troublingly, in an email from board member Susan Curlee to Dr. Looney on October 11th (obtained as a public record), Curlee said she had heard that some teachers had raised concerns regarding privatization at a recent faculty meeting that Dr. Looney attended. Curlee’s language on this is very sharp: “your response led teachers to believe there may be some truth to these malicious lies.” Later in the same email, she refers to privatization concerns again as “false allegations.”
It is unclear why concerns about vouchers/privatization would be misplaced given that much of the board has explicitly stated that they support such a policy.
Let us be very clear: If any board members have changed their minds on this and now OPPOSE vouchers in WCS, we will very happily report on that great news.
10/30/14 BREAKING NEWS: At the Let’s Talk School event, Dr. Burgos clearly stated that she would never approve vouchers in Williamson County! Candy Emerson reportedly said that she also would not support vouchers in Williamson County.