Dems counter Walker’s education planWAUSAU -- Democratic lawmakers continue to detail their response to Gov. Scott Walker's education budget, calling for more money for public schools and technical colleges and an end to Walker's voucher school expansion.
By: Glen Moberg, WPR, Rivertowns.net
WAUSAU -- Democratic lawmakers continue to detail their response to Gov. Scott Walker's education budget, calling for more money for public schools and technical colleges and an end to Walker's voucher school expansion.
At a series of news conferences around the state, Democrats pushed an initiative that they are calling "Save Our Schools." At Wausau West High School, local Repr. Donna Seidel called for rollbacks in the governor's proposed $1.68 billion cut for education. She said while Wisconsin is facing fiscal challenges like many other states, it is not broke.
The Democrats' choices would restore $346 million for public schools and $20 million for technical colleges. The plan would also stop the spending of $40 million on a private school voucher expansion.
Sandy-Pope Roberts, the minority chairwoman for the education committee, said Walker wants to force taxpayers to pay for rich kids to go to private schools.
"It calls for the elimination of the voucher and independent charter expansion that Gov. Walker has proposed. Further, we will require all voucher schools to take the new statewide test. When schools are using taxpayer dollars, they should be held accountable for their work product."
Robert's call for private school testing was supported by Michelle Schaefer, president of the Wausau School Board.
"The voucher issue has been a passionate one for me. I think all schools should be accountable, whether they're public or they're private,” said Schaefer.
The Democrats want to use Wisconsin's higher-than-anticipated tax revenues to help fund the school proposal, while still restructuring the state's debt and shoring up the Injured Patient's Compensation Fund.
The legislators admitted that no Republicans have yet signed on to the plan.