Republicans in the Assembly are talking about creating a new school voucher program, and Governor Walker says he’s willing to look at the idea.
The proposal would let low-income students use vouchers to pay for textbooks, school fees, and other education expenses. Other states with similar programs also let families use the money for private school tuition. The Wisconsin State Journal reported that some Assembly Republican lawmakers are looking at introducing a plan next year.
Walker says he’s heard about the idea, but hasn’t had time to get many details. However, he is open taking a closer look at the concept once other budget priorities are taken care of. Those other priorities include performance-related funding for the University of Wisconsin System and putting more money into K-12 public schools. “Certainly we’ll look at other options members of the Legislature have, but our number one priority is putting more money in the public schools,” Walker said.
The voucher expansion concept, known as Education Savings Accounts in some states, has drawn strong criticism from education officials. WEAC, the state teacher’s union, described it as a “back-door scheme” to take more money away from public schools. “Education savings accounts literally take money out of our neighborhood public schools and hand it over to subsidize private tuition, with zero accountability,” WEAC President Ron Martin said in a statement.
Affiliate WHBY contributed to this report