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Governor won't use line-item veto to expand school voucher program

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R)
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R)

MADISON (WSAU ) Governor Scott Walker promises not to use his line-item budget vetoes to expand Milwaukee’s private school voucher program throughout Wisconsin this fall. Assembly Republicans sneaked in a last-minute budget item at 2 a-m yesterday which includes a formula for allowing school-choice to expand up to 16 larger cities. It would only apply to Racine this fall, which was the deal made by G-O-P lawmakers earlier.

But Dan Rossmiller of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards feared that the Republican Walker would tweak the new budget formula to expand school choice right now. Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie promised late last night the governor would not change the language – and the program’s expansion would be limited to Racine and parts of Milwaukee County.

Lawmakers voted earlier to increase the number of Milwaukee kids who can get tax-funded vouchers to attend private schools – and they can attend schools throughout Milwaukee County this fall. Meanwhile, Senate President Mike Ellis said he would draft a bill to prevent automatic expansions of the voucher program – and Assembly finance chair Robin Vos said he would co-sponsor the bill in his house.