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Assembly expected to vote on closing school voucher loophole next week


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The Wisconsin Assembly is expected to vote next Tuesday to limit Wisconsin’s private school voucher program to the places where it’s now running – Milwaukee County and Racine.

The Senate has approved the bill, and Governor Scott Walker says he supports it. Wednesday, Assembly Finance chair Robin Vos said it’s being added to Tuesday’s calendar.

The bill would eliminate a formula approved in last year’s state budget that could let Green Bay and other cities offer the voucher program in the near future.

A last-minute budget amendment included the formula a year ago, and lawmakers quickly passed it to get the budget approved on time. But Republican supporters said it got included by mistake. And lately, Democrats and state Superintendent Tony Evers have put heat on GOP lawmakers to keep their promise, and prevent school vouchers from expanding any further.

The Milwaukee suburbs and Racine were added for the first time this year, after kids in Milwaukee had the program to themselves for 20 years.

Supporters say the voucher program helps poor kids learn more in a better environment, with the goal of escaping poverty. But critics say voucher students don’t perform any better than public school kids – and it takes valuable state aid away from public schools by reducing their enrollments.