Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

Reynolds wrap


State Senator Tom Reynolds (R-West Allis) may be the deciding vote in the school choice compromise. With all of the State Senate Democrats opposed to the school choice compromise (except possible Jeff Plale) and with Senators Mike Ellis and Robert Cowles opposed to the compromise because of the money going to the SAGE program, the State Senate could come down to one vote. If you had told me last week that the one vote would be Reynolds, I would have jumped up and down and said we win! This week, Reynolds is giving school choice supporters an ulcer.

Will he or won’t he? Jessica McBride asked him five times and he wouldn’t answer (twice more than the crown was offered to Caesar).

Will he or won’t he? The issue he claims to be fighting for is to “fix” the funding issue to give some of the “savings” back to the Milwaukee Public Schools. So instead of giving out-state taxpayers a break for finding a better and more cost efficient method to educate some of the kids at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder, Reynolds wants it to be a wash for Milwaukee taxpayers – oh, and they get to keep the extra SAGE money, too.

Will he or won’t he? Is it possible Reynolds is just doing this for attention? Is it possible the beating he took from Spivak and Bice has made him decide to play nice-nice with the other side in a misguided attempt to look less conservative?

Will he or won’t he? Brian Fraley, anticipating the question, has said he won’t run against Reynolds. Conservatives (including me) begged people like Fraley not to get involved in a primary against Reynolds. After the defeat of the mandatory increase in the state gas tax, many of us thought we had been vindicated.

Now this mercurial state senator holds the education of thousands of young disadvantaged children in his hands. We were successful in browbeating Governor Doyle to forge this compromise, it is up to the Republicans to push it through the legislature. Changing it now puts the whole compromise at risk, and threatens to undo any gains Republicans have made on the issue of education.

In a week when we’re mourning the loss of Michael Joyce, the former executive director of the Bradley Foundation who gave life to the school choice movement, we shouldn’t see thousands of poor, disadvantaged children see their dreams die with him. Senator Reynolds’ phone number in Madison is (608) 266-2512. Ask him to support the school choice compromise.

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