It will take a new Capitol compromise to keep Wisconsin’s virtual schools open after action Tuesday by the state Senate.
t the request of Gov. Jim Doyle, the Senate voted to cap enrollment for online schools at the current level – now about 3,500 students statewide – while a study is done on virtual learning.
Under the Senate changes, that number of online students could not go up again until the 2011-’12 school year, and then only by about 875 students. Dozens of parents and virtual school students came to the Capitol on Tuesday to fight the enrollment cap.
The 18-15 vote by the Senate – controlled by Democrats – sends the measure to the Assembly, which is run by Republicans.
The Assembly will meet for only a few more days before its scheduled adjournment next month. There might not be time to negotiate a compromise to changes dictated by Doyle, who promised to veto any bill without an enrollment cap.
If the Assembly does not act, virtual schools might not continue. In a ruling that threatened all online schools, the Court of Appeals ruled in December that the 800-student Wisconsin Virtual Academy, operated by the Northern Ozaukee School District, was not eligible for state aid, now $5,845 per student per year.