School Voucher Expansion Might Be Limited By Tight Budget

$2.2B Deficit Projected Heading Into Next Budget

Gov. Scott Walker. Photo: Gateway Technical College (CC-BY-ND).

Gov. Scott Walker says he will expand the state’s voucher program early next year, though supporters say such an expansion will likely be dictated by a tight budget.

Around 30,000 students are currently enrolled in Wisconsin’s three voucher programs: the Racine Voucher Program, the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, and the statewide program that’s capped at 1,000 students. Jim Bender. president of School Choice Wisconsin, said his organization’s top priority will be to raise the enrollment cap on the statewide voucher program.

“We of course would like to see those caps as high and as short as possible,” said Bender. “But that will be dictated also by how much money is available for the program.”

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Bender said that while there is high demand for the program, that fiscal realities may slow its growth. The state faces a $2.2 billion deficit headed into the next budget.

Walker says he will release the details in his budget early next year.