Governor Scott Walker says he is willing to work with Republican legislators who want to tweak his budget proposals on private school vouchers and public school funding.
Members of the governor's own party say they will push to boost public school funding in the current budget proposal by as much as $150 per pupil. They also want to limit the Governor's proposed increase of $1,400 per pupil who may attend voucher schools in nine school districts.
Senate President Mike Ellis has said voucher school expansion should be dealt with as a separate bill. He has suggested school districts should be required to hold referendums on new voucher schools before any expansion occurs. Today the governor dismissed the referendum approach as inefficient. He challenged voucher school critics to come up with a plan that will allow parents a choice if the public school in their community is not meeting their needs.
"If parents have kids that are going to schools, or headed to schools that are failing their expectations, we want to turn [the schools] around. But in the cases where they can't, we want to provide them a viable alternative, so if there are lawmakers who don't like the current proposal but still want to help us to find a way to make sure that kids don't have to go to schools that are failing, we're more than willing to work with them on that."
The Governor also says he'll also agree to shift budget allocations around to allow for more public school funding. His only caveat is that he will not increase state or local property taxes.