Texas House Votes To Block Funds For School Choice
It was a long day on Thursday for members of the Texas House and while members were debate the budget, one other big item took a hit from lawmakers.
School Choice isn't officially dead in the Texas Legislature, but it's not looking good for those who want Education Savings Accounts or vouchers. School Choice has been a priority of Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick. The good news? In past sessions this type of amendment has been stripped out of the budget when the House and Senate send members to conference on the budget. So a debate on school choice could still happen.
On Thursday the Texas House approved an amendment to House Bill 1 that bans state money from going to vouchers or any type of Education Savings Account programs. Democrats along with some rural Republican lawmakers voted in favor of the amendment.
According to KXAN, 86 lawmakers voted for the amendment impacting vouchers.
The House approved State Rep. Abel Herrero’s amendment to the state budget on a bipartisan 86-52 vote. The amendment prohibits the budget from funding “a school voucher, including an education savings account, tax credit scholarship program, or a grant or other similar program through which a child may use state money for non-public primary or secondary education.”
“These are public funds for public schools as is outlined and stated specifically in the Texas Constitution,” Rep. Herrero said. “And for that, members, please stick with our public school teachers, our neighborhood schools, and our public charter schools and vote for this amendment.”
While this doesn't kill school choice in this session, it does complicate matters by showing just how many Republican lawmakers are against ESA's for now.
As I wrote earlier, it's possible school choice could still pass in this session, but the Governor has some work to do with Republican lawmakers.