A bill that greatly expands Milwaukee’s Parental Choice program has cleared a key legislative committee. The Joint Finance Committee on Thursday signed-off on the measure, which lifts the enrollment cap and expands the voucher program to schools in all of Milwaukee County.
Republican co-chair Robin Vos (R-Burlington) says it end restrictions that keep parents from doing what’s in the best interests of their children.
However, Democratic state Senator Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) argued the bill ignores the needs of troubled public schools by taking away their resources. He says the legislation is an attempt to defund public schools with the idea that private schools are the “nirvana” and will save the day.
State Representative Tamara Grigsby (D-Milwaukee) says the voucher program was intended to help low-income families access private schools. She says the bill will have taxpayers also paying for wealthy families making that choice because no income guidelines are being imposed on the program.
Democrats also countered that voucher schools are more expensive and will end up costing taxpayers in Milwaukee more money.
The state Assembly is expected to act on the bill next week.