The Future Of School Choice In Texas Faces A Key Vote Thursday
It's going to be a long day for Texas House lawmakers as they will debate House Bill 1, the House version of the budget. Over 300 amendments to the bill have already been filed and one of those amendments sets up a key vote on the issue of school choice and education savings accounts which are often referred to as vouchers.
An amendment filed by State Representative Abel Herrero, D-Robstown would ban using state dollars for education savings accounts or any voucher-like program. If passed, it would present a major hurdle for any school choice bill that would move though the Texas House.
In previous sessions, many rural Republican lawmakers in the Texas House joined with Democrats in opposing school choice measures. As the Texas Tribune reports, the Texas Senate is attempting to ease the concerns of rural Republican lawmakers by including money for rural schools if they lose school children to private schools.
Senators know that funding for public schools will be a top concern for rural Republicans. They added a provision in SB 8 that would give districts with less than 20,000 students funding of about $10,000 for every student who enrolls in the program and leaves their district. Districts would receive the additional funding annually for two years.
So have rural Republicans decided to go along with Governor Abbott on education savings accounts and school choice? Thursday's vote may tell us a lot.