The following offers highlights of the final legislative action during 2005. Precollegiate enrollment figures are based on fall 2004 data reported by state officials for public elementary and secondary schools. The figures for precollegiate education spending do not include federal flow-through funds, unless noted.
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Gov. James E. Doyle reshaped the state’s biennial budget for fiscal years 2006 and 2007 by vetoing 139 items from the spending bill passed by the Republican-controlled legislature in 2005.
The governor explained in a letter to lawmakers that his changes kept lawmakers’ freeze on property taxes over the next two fiscal years, but also raised fiscal support for public schools.
In the end, the governor signed a biennial budget that includes nearly $10.5 billion for primary and secondary education in fiscal years 2006 and 2007, which represents a $437 million increase, or 9 percent, over the two years.
Gov. Doyle criticized lawmakers’ inaction on providing aid to some 60 school districts that are losing enrollment.
He also vetoed a bill that would have raised the enrollment cap on Milwaukee’s voucher program from about 14,700 students to about 16,500 students in the 2005-06 school year. The state-funded vouchers are worth up to $6,000 each for private school tuition.
The governor had proposed lifting the cap, but only if students in the program take state tests.