Honadel wants to ensure choice school changes ready for next school year

    The author of a bill to lift the cap on enrollment in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program says lawmakers should continue to advance the standalone bill in case a similar proposal in Walker’s budget is delayed.
    Rep. Mark Honadel (R-South Milwaukee), told the Assembly Education Committee during a public hearing that he wants the legislation in place for the beginning of the 2011-2012 school year. He also said the bill would not change current testing requirements or lift the income cap for families to participate in the MPCP – measures that are included in the budget – but would expand the program to private schools in Milwaukee County, not just within the city.
    "There is no rationale for limiting the number of students in the program to 22,500," Honadel told the committee. He said current policy "artificially limits access and serves no educational benefit."
    Rep. Sondy Pope-Roberts (D-Middleton) countered that the MPCP was implemented as a pilot program.
    "I have seen nothing from the voucher program that convinces me it does any better than MPS," said Pope-Roberts.
    Chris Thiel, legislative policy manager for Milwaukee Public Schools, said lawmakers should fix current issues with MPS enrollment before expanding the choice program. In particular, he said the state should count MPCP students toward the district’s equalization aid formula, arguing that not counting those students has left a nearly $50 million shortfall for the school board.
    – WisPolitics.com

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