Wisconsin School choice programs get boost in Walker budget

Matthew DeFour:

Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposal calls for deep cuts in most areas of public education with one notable exception – public school choice programs.
In addition to steep reductions in school district funding, Walker’s budget calls for a 10 percent cut to grants for programs such as bilingual-bicultural education and 4-year-old kindergarten. It also retains current grant funding for special education and low-income students, despite projected growth in those populations.
Meanwhile, Milwaukee’s 20-year-old voucher program would receive $22.5 million more to accommodate 1,300 additional students. The growth would result from Walker’s proposal to remove the program’s income requirements and enrollment caps.
And independent charter schools would receive $18.4 million more over the biennium. Walker is projecting 600 additional students as his proposal would lift the state enrollment cap on virtual charter schools, allow the UW System’s 13 four-year universities to establish charter schools, and allow independent charter schools in any district in the state.