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Joint Finance Committee takes up issue of school vouchers

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MADISON (WITI) -- On Tuesday night, June 4th, political leaders in Madison were working to determine where tax dollars will go -- and education/school vouchers topped the list of items to be discussed.

Lawmakers on Tuesday night considered a proposal to take private school vouchers statewide, but limit the number of students taking advantage of the taxpayer-funded program.

Under the deal, all 424 school districts in Wisconsin could host students taking part in the program, but that number is capped to 500 statewide in the first year of the proposal, and 1,000 in year two, with the exception of Milwaukee and Racine schools.

Both of those districts already have voucher programs.

The legislation also includes additional public school funding. If approved, the state will spend an additional $150 per pupil in each of the next two years for public schools.

Despite the additional cash influx, some critics argue increasing the voucher program decreases support for public institutions and funds private ones with public dollars.

Others say capping the number who can take advantage of vouchers limits the program's effectiveness.

The JFC's decision will have to be approved by the Senate and Assembly -- and spending decisions must be finalized by June 30th.