Tue May 14, 2013
GOP Considers Statewide School Vouchers
GOP lawmakers are pushing for school vouchers to expand statewide — further than an expansion plan fellow Republican Governor Scott Walker recommends.
Taxpayer-funded school vouchers currently exist only in Milwaukee and Racine. But Governor Walker's state budget proposal would expand the program to part of nine more districts. Monday, as a group of state lawmakers toured some Milwaukee voucher schools, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Burlington) said vouchers ought to be offered statewide.
“I am so optimistic that as we move forward this choice program will be exported to the entire state.”
Vos went on:
“I have said from the beginning my only disappointment with the governor's budget is that we do not have statewide school choice, so I am incredibly optimistic. I know there is some resistance in the Senate, but I want school choice for every single child in the state.”
Some of that resistance in the Senate is coming from moderate Republicans who say they have concerns about the voucher program. A Democrat on Monday's tour, Rep. Mandela Barnes (D-Milwaukee) said he expects some sort of targeted voucher expansion is likely to occur, though Barnes says he'll fight against it, especially if public schools are hurt.
“I'm a product of public education. I deeply value public education. I feel that continuing to defund public education is going to be a problem.”
Yet to be seen is how much of the projected new state revenues are steered into more public school aid, in an attempt to reduce voucher expansion resistance in the state Senate.