Walker Probably Won’t Veto Voucher Expansion Cap


Governor Scott Walker says he’s probably won’t veto a proposed cap on the expansion of taxpayer-funded school vouchers in Wisconsin.

But Walker seems to want the voucher program to keep growing later on.

The Joint Finance Committee has passed a budget item that would slowly expand school vouchers outside of existing programs in Milwaukee and Racine. Just 500 students outside those two cities could get taxpayer support next year, and 1,000 in later years.

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No more than 1 percent of a school district’s enrollment could get vouchers. Some conservative lawmakers are reportedly talking about doing away with the enrollment cap when the budget goes through the Assembly and Senate, or getting Governor Walker to veto the cap.

Walker says the current plan was a negotiated deal that also included more money for public schools.

“We worked with people in good faith on this, even some who didn’t want any expansion. We were able to get to an agreement – if anything, people know I’m a man of my word. We got an agreement, and I don’t see any changes that would tie in to that agreement. So while I’m not announcing vetoes or non-vetoes, this is an area where people should be pretty confident, that assuming it remains intact…”

But that doesn’t mean Walker wouldn’t consider a further expansion of vouchers if he’s still governor two years from now. He told a gathering of voucher school executives in Milwaukee that the currently planned expansion needs to succeed.

“That will be the make-or-break two years from now – is if we can point to all these kids that have been added, and look at the improvement that they’ve made, look at the impact it’s had…”

Walker also urged the voucher school leaders to improve any poorly performing voucher schools, or find a way to get them out of the voucher program.