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Neenah state Sen. Ellis: Against school voucher expansion, unless locals want it

by
Wisconsin State Senator Mike Ellis (R-Neenah)
Wisconsin State Senator Mike Ellis (R-Neenah)

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin Senate President Mike Ellis says he’ll oppose any effort to expand the state’s private school voucher program, unless the affected residents agree to it.

Ellis told the Associated Press Thursday he would try to block any new communities from getting voucher schools unless they’re approved in local referendums.

The program gives tax-funded vouchers to low-income kids to attend private schools, with the idea that kids would get a better education and a better chance to escape poverty. But Democrats and public schools disagree – especially because those schools lose state aid when students transfer to the private institutions.

Voucher programs are now offered in Milwaukee County and Racine. There’s been talk of extending the program to Green Bay and other districts.

Republican Governor Scott Walker is among those favoring those extensions – but he has not said whether he'll support local approval first.

Ellis said his bill calls for petitions to be circulated in the proposed voucher school communities. And once enough signatures are gathered, the matter would go to a vote. 

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