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GOP senators break with Walker on vouchers

Senators take issue with school voucher expansion

MADISON, Wis. - The Republican president of the state Senate tells The Associated Press that a majority of GOP senators will not support Gov. Scott Walker's plan to expand the private school voucher plan as proposed.

Senate President Mike Ellis said Wednesday that Walker's proposal will have to be "drastically changed." He said that proposal, as well as Walker's plan to offer vouchers for special education children and create a charter school oversight board, are "unacceptable to a majority of the senators."

Republicans hold an 18-15 majority in the Senate.

Ellis said talks are ongoing about how to change Walker's proposals in a way that they can be supported both in the Senate and in the Republican-controlled Assembly.

Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie released a statement saying Gov. Walker looks forward to working with the Legislature on the matter.

"The Governor's budget contains a reasonable and practical plan to provide additional educational opportunities to students who are in a district with two or more failing schools," according to the statement.

"I don't know what's going on in the state Senate, but I can promise you in the state Assembly, there is near unanimous approval for what the governor has put in the budget," Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said. "In fact, one of my greatest disappointments is that he didn't go further."

Vos criticized the opponents of vouchers for speaking so soon in the budget process.

GOP senators break with Walker on vouchers

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