Texas House could vote Friday on school voucher bill

KBTX News 3 at Six Weekday EXTENDED(Recurring)
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 8:41 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Friday the Texas House could vote on a bill that would create education savings accounts. It would allow families to use public funding for their choice of private schools, using a voucher system.

Governor Greg Abbott has pushed for support of the voucher system, and its partially why legislators are back in a fourth special session right now.

However, so far lawmakers haven’t been able to come together on these education savings programs.

The Superintendent of Navasota ISD, Dr. Stu Musick, says he doesn’t believe school choice vouchers are good for public education, no matter the size of the district.

”It would not only be bad in the short term, it ultimately is not a sustainable model for school funding. And To funnel millions that will turn into billions of dollars away from public schools, it just can’t turn out good,” said Dr. Musick.

Kevin Beesaw is Assistant Superintendent for Business Services at Bryan ISD. He says this back and forth has made for an interesting budgeting process. Beesaw says the ISD lost a couple of hundred students when a charter school opened a few years back. He says they were able to adjust for that. However, he says if ten-percent of students were to leave for their choice of schools, they’d lose more than ten-million dollars in funding. He says that would have a large impact and would take a major restructuring.

On Friday it is expected attempts will be made to strip the bill of school vouchers.

KBTX previously reported that districts around the state are hoping to see an increase in allotment for students.

“Whatever you’re going to consider for vouchers, then public education basic allotments have got to match that. I mean, there’s not a discussion other than that in my mind. If we really want choice, if we really want to give parents the opportunity to take their kids to where they’d like their kids to be educated, that’s perfectly fine, but we need to have the same compensation,” said Tim Harkrider, College Station ISD Superintendent.

Weaved into the plan laid out by Gov. Abbott includes “billions” for teacher pay raises, school safety and a plan to phase out current state testing requirements.