Dave Umhoefer
By Dave Umhoefer July 21, 2011

Both caps were removed as part of the 2011-13 state budget

Two major education items Gov. Scott Walker inserted into his first budget gave a boost to competitors to the traditional public school system.

He proposed eliminating the enrollment cap on the Milwaukee parental choice program, under which state funds have been used to pay for the cost of children from low-income families to attend -- at no charge -- private schools located in the City of Milwaukee.

And he sought to remove the cap on the number of students who can use the state's open enrollment system to enroll in virtual charter schools.

A virtual school is one in which all or a portion of instruction is provided on the Internet, and pupils and staff are geographically remote from each other.

This was his rationale. from the campaign:

"Parents should have control over their child's education, not the government. The Milwaukee parental choice program and charter schools around Wisconsin have been successfully serving students for over a decade. While these options aren't for everyone, they should be expanded and encouraged for parents who want them.”

The Legislature, amid protests over potential harm to the public school system, approved both moves when it sent the budget to Walker, who signed it June 26, 2011.

In the parental choice program, the 22,500-pupil cap is gone, and students will now be able to attend private schools beyond the city of Milwaukee's borders.

And for virtual schools, the old cap of 5,250 students is gone.

That rates this as a Promise Kept.

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