Independent charter schools could operate in Wisconsin school districts with more than 2,000 students under a bill approved by the Legislature's budget committee.
Under current law, independent charter schools are only allowed in Milwaukee and Racine. The bill approved Wednesday by the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee would create a new board that would approve independent charter schools without any approval by the local district.
About one-fourth of the state's districts would qualify under the enrollment requirement.
Democrats objected to the measure, saying it is being pushed by people who don't like public schools and want to take power away from them to approve charter schools. But Republican backers say it's an important reform that gives charter schools more autonomy and freedom.