Support a major increase in the enrollment cap in the statewide private school voucher program

Walker said if he's re-elected, he would support a significant or wholesale lifting of the enrollment cap on the two-year-old statewide private school voucher program, particularly for low-income students but also potentially for students from families with higher incomes.


Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Sept. 3, 2014

Subjects: Education


Statewide program was passed as part of 2015-'17 budget

Gov. Scott Walker has pushed for more Wisconsin students to have access to the statewide voucher system, which puts taxpayer dollars toward paying for lower-income students to attend private schools.

During his 2014 re-election campaign, Walker promised to either increase the cap of students allowed in the program or to remove the cap altogether.  Democratic opponent Mary Burke had pledged to dismantle the statewide voucher program.

When he proposed his 2015-'17 budget, Walker  went for removing the cap altogether -- and the Legislature included the change in its version of the budget.

Before the most recent budget eliminated the enrollment cap, only 1,000 students could participate in the statewide voucher program. A separate, larger and longstanding program has been in effect in Milwaukee, and previous expansions included some students in Racine.

Walker considered allowing higher-income families access to the voucher program, but did not promise that and did not change the current law that limits the statewide voucher program to low-income participants.

We rate this Promise Kept.


Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau, "Public Instruction: General School Aids and Revenue Limits," Page 522, Item 6.
Erin Richards, "Scott Walker, Mary Burke draw sharp contrast on expanding vouchers," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, September 3, 2014.
Erin Richards, "Walker proposal would virtually upend education status quo," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, February 3, 2015. 

Cap would be eliminated if GOP-held Legislature goes along with budget proposal

During the 2014 campaign, Scott Walker drew a sharp contrast with Democratic challenger Mary Burke on the taxpayer-funded private-school voucher program.

Burke said she would eliminate the voucher program beyond Milwaukee and Racine.

Walker promised to support expanding it significantly or eliminate the current enrollment cap on the statewide voucher program entirely.

In his budget unveiled in February, Walker backed dumping the cap, which stands now at 1,000 students.

He did not end income limits on which families could receive vouchers. He had raised the possibility he might end those limits, but he did not promise that.

We rate this promise In the Works.


Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story, Sept. 3, 2014

State budget documents for 2015-17

Interview with Laurel Walker, Governor's press secretary, Feb. 9, 2015