TO THE HONORABLE MEMBERS OF THE SENATE: I am vetoing Senate Bill 253. This bill allows certain four-year institutions of the University of Wisconsin System to establish up to five independent charter schools across the state. Under current law, the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, the City of Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Area Technical College and the University of Wisconsin – Parkside may establish independent charter schools. All current independent charter schools must be located in the City of Milwaukee, except for the school established by UW-Parkside in Racine.
I am vetoing the bill because this expansion of the independent charter school program will dilute the program's goal of improving educational opportunities for students living in Milwaukee and Racine.
I am also vetoing the bill because it will drain state funds from existing public schools and increase property taxes. State payments to independent charter schools are funded by the reallocation of general school aids from the state’s 426 school districts. The bill’s expansion of the program reduces state resources for all existing public schools and diminishes the state’s property tax relief efforts.
As I have indicated repeatedly to the Legislature, changes to the charter school program should be part of a broader effort to improve the education of all our children. Respectfully submitted, JIM DOYLE Governor