Hundreds Rally for Governor Walker’s Push for More School Choice

Waukesha. . . Hundreds of parents, children and community leaders rallied at La Casa de Esperanza in Waukesha today to show their support for a major expansion of choice and charter schools in southeastern Wisconsin.

“I applaud the strong support Governor Walker has for school choice and his efforts to expand it,” stated former Lt. Governor Margaret Farrow. “Low income families in Waukesha, West Allis and West Milwaukee should have the right to choose a school that offers a bright future for their children. I trust that Governor Walker and the legislature will move to strengthen this opportunity.”

More than 300 parents and children attended the rally and dozens of community leaders and elected officials endorsed Governor Walker’s budget proposals for a major expansion and improvement of school choice. The Governor’s budget would expand choice and independent charter schools to nine more school districts, establish a special needs scholarship program and increase the per pupil public investment in children attending these schools.

“I support the Governor’s initiative for expanded educational opportunities for Wisconsin’s families,” said Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas in a statement released before the event. Vrakas was out of state and unable to attend the event.

“As Mayor of the City of Waukesha, I support the expansion of charter schools and parental school choice for all of our families,” said Waukesha Mayor Jeff Scrima.

A list of elected officials, business leaders and community leaders supporting a major expansion of school choice is attached to this release along with supportive quotes from state legislators.

Brian Pleva
Wisconsin Government Affairs Associate
American Federation for Children
(608) 279-9484

State Legislators Support a Major Expansion of School Choice

I am a strong supporter of school choice and the proposed expansion in our state. Parents across Wisconsin deserve to have the choice to send their child to the school that best meets their educational needs. School choice is working in Racine. I continue to hear first-hand accounts of students who are thriving in their choice schools.
– Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, Burlington (63rd Assembly District)

I support providing parents the opportunity to choose the most appropriate educational setting for their child.
– Senator Neal Kedzie, Elkhorn (11th Senate District)

In my time in the State Assembly, I have been and continue to be a champion for expanding educational opportunities and allowing low-income families the choice to make the best decision for their children’s education.
– Representative Mark Honadel, South Milwaukee (21st Assembly District)

No child should be forced to stay in a failing school. All students deserve to have quality educational options regardless of their background.
– Representative Dan Knodl, Germantown (24th Assembly District)

When it comes to choosing the right school for their children parents need true options, which is why I support expanding school choice in Wisconsin. Communities with public, charter, and choice schools give parents the ability to choose the best education for their children.
– Representative Pat Strachota, West Bend (58th Assembly District)

I support school choice expansion because it gives the families of children in under performing schools the ability to seek the education that is best for them.
– Representative Chris Kapenga, Delafield (99th Assembly District)

The Choice Program is very popular in my district in Racine, and I believe that parents and students in the rest of the state should have the same opportunities.
– Representative Tom Weatherston, Racine (62nd Assembly District)

All parents should have the ability to choose the best education options for their children. Governor Walker’s proposal to expand the parental choice program in the 2013-2015 State Budget is, I believe, a good start to achieving this goal and I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that every child in Wisconsin has access to quality education.
– Representative David Craig, Big Bend (83rd Assembly District)

I fully support Governor Walker’s efforts to expand School Choice in Wisconsin, as School Choice allows parents to choose the best school for their child.
– Representative Tyler August, Lake Geneva (32nd Assembly District)

Education is the stepping stone to success in society, and each child learns differently than the next. It is my belief, as a legislator and as a parent, that a parent should have the option to remove their children from a failing school and send them to a school that will best fit their needs. I believe the expansion of Charter schools, as well the Wisconsin School Choice Program, give parents the proper tools to make certain that their children are in a setting that is best suitable to them.
– Representative Mike Kuglitsch, New Berlin (84th Assembly District)

As a former public school board member, I enthusiastically support Governor Walker’s educational reform proposals to increase educational choices for families.
– Representative Duey Stroebel, Saukville (60th Assembly District)

Providing parents choices for their child’s education, gives students more opportunities for success. Student success creates a more dynamic and diverse future.
– Senator Mary Lazich, New Berlin (28th Senate District)

As we combat the moral and spiritual decline of our country, alternatives to our public schools are a necessity.
– Senator Glenn Grothman, West Bend (20th Senate District)

School choice saves taxpayers money, but more importantly gives parents option and is changing lives for the better.
– Representative Dale Kooyenga, Brookfield (14th Assembly District)

I support school choice because it’s about prioritizing children ahead of the outdated interests of education bureaucrats. God Bless these brave families.
– Representative Steve Nass, Whitewater (33rd Assembly District)

School choice in all forms empowers parents to make the best decisions for their children and encourages schools to offer the best education.
– Representative Samantha Kerkman, Powers Lake (61st Assembly District)

I believe all children deserve the best education we can provide, and children with disabilities are no different. All parents deserve to know that they are getting a quality education that is right for their child.
– Senator Alberta Darling, River Hills (8th Senate District)

These leaders from southeastern Wisconsin have endorsed a major expansion of school choice in Wisconsin. Their business or community affiliations are listed as background information.

Elected Officials

Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas
Waukesha City Mayor Jeff Scrima

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos
Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Bill Kramer
State Senator Alberta Darling (Chair of Joint Finance Committee)
State Senator Glenn Grothman (Member of Joint Finance Committee)
State Senator Paul Farrow
State Senator Mary Lazich (Member of Joint Finance Committee)
State senator Neal Kedzie
State Senator Leah Vukmir
Representative Tyler August
Representative David Craig
Representative Mark Honadel
Representative Rob Hutton
Representative John Jagler
Representative Chris Kapenga
Representative Samantha Kerkman
Representative Joel Kleefisch
Representative Dan Knodl
Representative Dale Kooyenga (Member of Joint Finance Committee)
Representative Dan LeMahieu (Member of Joint Finance Committee)
Representative Steve Nass
Representative Adam Neylon
Representative Jim Ott
Representative Don Pridemore
Representative Joe Sanfelippo
Representative Jeff Stone
Representative Pat Strachota (Member of Joint Finance Committee)
Representative Duey Stroebel
Representative Tom Weatherston
Former Lt. Governor Margaret Farrow
Former Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen
Former State Senator Ted Kanavas
Former State Senator Van Wanggaard
Former State Representative Ann Nischke

Business Leaders

Dave Bahl and Dave Bahl, Jr. – Weldall Manufacturing
Jerry and Judi Couri – Couri Insurance
Rudy Gutierrez – US Bank, La Casa Board
Jeff Hoffman – Judson and Associates, WCBA Board
Jim Leef – Industrial Towel & Uniform
Charlie Miller – Citizen’s Bank of Mukwonago, La Casa Board
Brian Nemoir – Full Impact Communications, WCBA Board
Amanda Payne – Director of Public Relations at WCBA
Gus Ramirez – HUSCO
Marcos Ramos – Connecture, La Casa Board
Laura Reyes – GE Healthcare, La Casa Board
John Vidal – Vidal and Associates, La Casa Board
Jim Walden – Walden, Schuster & Vaklyes, S.C., WCBA Board
Steve Ziegler – In Pro Corporation, La Casa Board

Community Leaders

Deacon Jorge – Benavente Office of Hispanic Ministry, Archdiocese
Pastor Joe Medina – First Congregational Church, UCC
Dr. Harry Muir – UW Waukesha
Pastor Doug Richards – Waukesha Christian Academy
Dr. Walter Sava – Latino Historical Society of Wisconsin
Jayne Thoma – United Way of Waukesha County
Jose Vasquez – COO, La Casa de Esperanza
Anselmo Villareal – President and CEO, La Casa de Esperanza

School Leaders

Todd Beadle – St. Joseph Academy
Pastor Ken Fisher – Wisconsin Lutheran
Father Paul Hartmann – President, Catholic Memorial
Nelly Hernandez – Great Schools
Bozica Jevtic – St. Sava Orthodox School
Timothy Kassulke – Principal, Mount Calvary
Pastor Bill Key – St. Joseph
Lisa Kovaleski – Principal, St. Joseph
Donna Larson – Mary Queen of Saints Catholic Academy
Randy Melchert – Academy of Excellence
Larry Pesch – Brookfield Academy
John Surges – El Puente
Bill Walsh – Montessori School of Waukesha

Political Leaders

Candee Arndt – Member at Large, Waukesha County GOP
Keith Best – First Vice Chair, Waukesha County GOP
Chuck Bloom – East Central Chair, Waukesha County GOP
Debra Bowers – President, Waukesha Republican Women
Jim Bowers – South East Chair, Waukesha County GOP
Steve Centinario – Northeast Chair, Waukesha County GOP
Roseann Dieck – Southwest Chair, Milwaukee County GOP
David Karst – Chair, Milwaukee County GOP
James McFarland – Member at Large, Milwaukee County GOP
John Macy – Chair, Waukesha County Republican Party
Ginny Marschman – Conservative Activist
Chris Maurer – Member at Large, Waukesha County GOP
Michael Murphy – South Chair, Milwaukee County GOP
Bob Spindell – Chair, 4th Congressional District GOP
Matthew Strublic – Chair, Greater Milwaukee Patriot Network
Cathy Waller – Executive Director, Waukesha County GOP
Avi Zarmi – North Shore Chair, Milwaukee County GOP