Parts of Gov. Walker's budget discussed by area education leader - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Parts of Gov. Walker's budget discussed by area education leaders

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Rice Lake (WQOW) - Saturday is not a school day, but education was the focus of a meeting with lawmakers in Rice Lake Saturday afternoon.

Senator Bob Jauch and Representative Stephen Smith led a roundtable discussion on Governor Walker's budget proposal, and the impact it could have on education. Administrators and school board members from some Barron County school districts were on hand. One thing discussed was the governor's plan to add a Charter School Oversight Board based in Madison that could approve more charter schools across the state.

"I know there's a charter school here in Rice Lake, there's another charter school over in Cumberland. Local control is closer to the people they represent. Decisions made in Washington D.C. and Madison, Wisconsin should not be handcuffing local decision makers, because they're closer to the people they represent," said Stephen Smith, Representative from the 75th district of the Wisconsin State Assembly.

Another issue was the proposed expansion of voucher schools.

"In terms of the voucher plan, there's absolutely no starting point. But I have a good working relationship with Luther Olsen and Mike Ellis, who is the President of the Senate; two Republicans who have been extremely critical of the governor's plan. Who have said that it is anti-Wisconsin. So I think the voucher plan is going to be substantially altered if not entirely removed," said Bob Jauch, Senator from the 25th district.

Negotiations continue behind closed doors to find an alternative to the governor's voucher expansion plan. A republican-backed proposal would give tax credits to parents of students in private schools. This week the governor said he's open to the idea in addition to, but not in place of, his voucher plan.

"We'll work with the Legislature, whether it's an idea like that... We're willing to work as long as there's some degree of choice that's part of the next state budget," said Gov. Scott Walker.

Three more public hearings about the governor's budget will be held by the Joint Finance committee. The first was held earlier this week in Greendale. One is being planned in Green Bay, another in Wisconsin Dells. The final hearing on April 18th will be at the Baldwin-Woodville High School in Baldwin.

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