With Governor Scott Walker facing opposition from his own GOP over his state budget plan to expand school vouchers, top Republicans met earlier this week to work out a deal. As to how far along the agreement is, it depends on who you ask.
Senator Luther Olson (R – Ripon), Education Committee chair and Joint Finance Committee member told us Thursday he “shook hands” with the governor on an agreement. Senator Alberta Darling (R – River Hills), who co-chairs JFC, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Thursday that “a compromise can be accepted but the details are very, very fluid,”
Senate President Mike Ellis (R-Neenah) said Friday that it’s up to Walker now. “Where we are is defining when is a deal not a deal,” said Ellis. Everyone in the room thought we had an agreement with the governor and I still think we did have an agreement with the governor.”
Ellis said his first priority was to get more money for public education.
AUDIO: Ellis talks student numbers (:17)
Walker had wanted to target vouchers for nine school districts, in addition to the existing Milwaukee and Racine programs. Now a proposed statewide expansion of vouchers would limit the number of students to 500 in the first year and 1,000 in the second.
Ellis said the governor doesn’t want to have any enrollment caps after 2016 and that’s something they’ll have to argue about in two years.
WHBY’s Mike Kemmeter contributed to this report.