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2011-13 Legislative Session

The 2011-2013 biennial budget signed into law by Governor Scott Walker includes provisions to expand and improve school choice. 

Provisions included in the budget are:

• Elimination of the enrollment cap;

• Allowing Milwaukee students to attend any participating private school outside of the City of Milwaukee starting in 2011-2012;

• Raising the income limit to 300% of the federal poverty level, or about $67,000 for a family of four;

• Raising the income limit further (by $7,000) for dual income married families;

• Allowing schools to charge additional tuition to students in grades 9-12 with family income between 220 and 300 percent of the federal poverty level. 

• Improving the enrollment process by having the Department of Revenue verify family income by excluding ineligible applications;

• Restoring WKCE testing for schools in the MPCP and mandating that the scores of only tested pupils are included in school and grade level averages;

• Eliminating the requirement that accrediting agencies audit pupil records;

• A "once you're in, you're in" provision that allows family income to rise once a student is in the MPCP;

• Expanding pre-accreditation authority for new schools to all accreditation agencies approved in the statutes; and

• Expansion of choice to Racine starting in 2011-2012. In 2011-2012 the program will give preference to students eligible for free and reduced lunch and will be capped at 250 pupils. In 2012-2013 the program will be capped at 500 pupils. Students not currently in private schools in Racine, as well as all students enrolling in grades K, 1, and 9 will be eligible to participate. In the third year, the cap on enrollment will be eliminated. 

The budget bill does not include a provision to establish a petition process that could have led to school choice in Green Bay. The provision had substantial support from many legislators who represent the Green Bay area who indicated that they will continue to press for a Green Bay program.

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