Texas House removes vouchers from massive education bill

Texas House removes vouchers from massive education bill

Texas 2

Update: The House voted Friday to remove the school voucher measure from the bill.

By Zach Despart and Brian Lopez, The Texas Tribune

Nov. 16, 2023

Watch live: Texas House poised to remove vouchers from massive education bill” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

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An amendment filed Friday morning to remove school vouchers from the Texas House’s massive education bill, House Bill 1, has enough support from Republicans to pass — which would effectively gut the bill of its signature provision.

At least a dozen Republicans signed the amendment filed by Rep. John Raney of College Station, including Reps. Glenn Rogers, Ernest Bailes, Justin Holland, Hugh Shine, Stan Lambert, Steve Allison, Drew Darby, Ed Thompson, DeWayne Burns, Charlie Geren and Andrew Murr.

If all 65 Democrats in the chamber support the amendment, only 10 Republican votes would be needed to pass it.

A coalition of Democrats and rural Republicans has historically blocked attempts to create a voucher system in Texas, which would allow parents to use tax dollars to send their children to private schools.

That alliance appears to have held, despite efforts by Gov. Greg Abbott and his negotiating team to woo about two dozen Republican holdouts who signaled disapproval of vouchers during the regular legislative session this spring.

HB 1 is an omnibus bill that would also boost spending for public schools. It would increase the basic allotment — the base amount allocated to districts per student — from $6,160 to $6,700 and would be adjusted for inflation starting in the 2026-27 school year. It also includes a one-time $4,000 bonus for full-time teachers, counselors, nurses and librarians.

But its key provision is vouchers. The bill would create education savings accounts, a voucher-like program that would allow about 40,000 students who exit the state’s public education system to receive $10,500 annually to attend the private or religious school selected by their parents.

Abbott has said he will not sign an education bill that does not include vouchers, his top legislative priority this year.

This story will be updated.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2023/11/16/texas-house-school-vouchers/.

The Texas Tribune is a member-supported, nonpartisan newsroom informing and engaging Texans on state politics and policy. Learn more at texastribune.org.

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