Gov. Walker touts School Choice program in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Days after signing the state's 2013-2015 budget into law, Gov. Scott Walker made a stop in Milwaukee on Wednesday, July 3rd to promote one of the budget's most controversial provisions: expanding the state's School Choice program.

On Wednesday, Gov. Walker stopped at Milwaukee's Notre Dame Middle School. He told students there that soon, other children in Wisconsin will have the option to choose where they go to school.

"We live in a country where you have the freedom to do what you want," Gov. Walker told the group gathered Wednesday at Notre Dame Middle School.

Gov. Walker is touting what he calls a major victory for educational freedoms throughout the state. Despite strong opposition from Democrats, and even those from within his own party, Gov. Walker's plan to expand the school voucher program is moving forward.

The provision in the budget gives roughly $7,000 to parents in districts failing to meet state standards, so their children can attend private schools.

"For us, it`s real simple.  It`s not about picking one school system over another - it`s about letting every young person in this state have access to a great education," Gov. Walker said.

Gov. Walker says he has also approved nearly $300 million in increases to public schools. Meanwhile, he's fending off a lawsuit recently approved by the Milwaukee Common Council aiming to preserve residency requirements for city employees.

"It`s not asking too much. We`re paying very good salaries and benefits to ask they live in our boundaries and cities," Milwaukee Alderman Michael Murphy said.

Gov. Walker's budget eliminated these rules, in part, to help urban areas like Milwaukee attract better teachers.

"The way you attract people and keep people you have is not by putting up a wall to keep them from leaving.  It`s by insuring you have a great city," Gov. Walker said.

Gov. Walker says he's doubtful any other communities will join Milwaukee in this lawsuit.