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Private school officials speak out against accountability bill

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Officials of Catholic and other private schools in Wisconsin's voucher program spoke out Thursday against a plan to make their schools as accountable as the public ones. 

The state Senate's Education Committee held a hearing on a bill to put private schools under more scrutiny, if they receive tax dollars to educate low income kids under the now statewide voucher program. 

Private school supporters said the plan is flawed as to the information that would have to be provided -- and how it would be reported. Only two other lawmakers have co-sponsored the package, offered by the heads of the Senate and Assembly education panels. 

Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos recently said the measure would need to be changed to attract more support. 

Under the current proposal, voucher schools would be rated as public schools are now. Reading and math teaching methods would be under the microscope a little more. Voucher schools that perform below expectations for three straight years would get three years to improve, or face penalties as severe as mandatory closure. 

Voucher school advocates have said the measure gives too much power to state officials who've proclaimed their opposition to the voucher program. 

Governor Scott Walker has not said what he thinks about the package.