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Few lawmakers co-sign bill to hold private voucher schools to public school standards

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Only a handful of Wisconsin lawmakers have expressed support for a bill to make private schools in the state's voucher program as accountable as public schools. 

GOP Senate Education Committee chairman Luther Olsen said only four of the 131 members of both houses have co-sponsored the package.  Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos calls it a "first draft," and changes would have to be made in order to get more support. 

Olsen and Assembly Education chairman Steve Kestell spent two years working with a task force on the package. 

Teaching methods for reading and math would get closer scrutiny in all schools.  The voucher schools would be rated with categories that public schools now get, which are similar to letter grades.  

Schools that perform below expectations for 3 straight years would get penalties ranging up to mandatory closure.  Voucher schools would get three additional years to improve.  

Advocates for voucher schools say the proposals are not specific enough, and it would give the state too much power as it continues to oppose private choice schools. 

Governor Scott Walker is non-committal, saying only that he would consider the measures if they get to his desk.