December 19, 2014

Walker sticking with voucher plan

Gov. Scott Walker (Photo: Andrew Beckett)

Gov. Scott Walker (Photo: Andrew Beckett)

Governor Scott Walker is standing by his state budget proposal to expand a private school voucher program to more Wisconsin cities.

The governor’s budget would allow the taxpayer-funded vouchers to be issued in larger districts with multiple failing schools. Republican lawmakers this week floated a possible alternative, in the form of a tax credit for parents with kids in private schools. Walker says it’s worth discussing, but he believes the voucher plan is the right move to improve failing schools in the state.

Speaking in Madison Wednesday afternoon, Walker said his budget very clearly puts a focus on trying to give parents a choice if their children are in failing schools and “he’s still firmly behind that position in terms of how to move forward, providing choice for families in the state of Wisconsin.”

The governor said all options will be considered though, as the Legislature continues work on the budget bill, and they are willing to work with the Legislature “as long as there’s still ultimately some degree of choice as a part of the next state budget.”

AUDIO: Gov. Scott Walker (:14)

Walker also downplayed the possible impact state Superintendent Tony Evers’ victory could have on the voucher debate.

Evers, an opponent of choice programs, said his decisive win Tuesday was a sign that the people of Wisconsin are rejecting the Republican education agenda and want to keep the focus on public schools. Walker said he doesn’t think the issue had any bearing on the race though, arguing it got little attention in comparison to the election for State Supreme Court. He believes it will not be a factor as lawmakers consider the voucher proposal.