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The House Public Education Committee is expected to hold a formal meeting tomorrow (Wednesday, May 10) to vote out SB 8 as substituted. A formal meeting does not require public testimony.

The committee substitute for SB 8 will create an education savings account (ESA) aka a voucher for:

  • a child who is educationally disadvantaged;
  • a child with a disability; OR
  • a child who meets one of the following qualifications: was enrolled in a public school in Texas for 90% of the year preceding the school year for which the child applies to enroll in the program or is enrolling in kindergarten or first grade for the first time; AND meets at least one of the following:

    1. covered by 504; OR
    2. attended a campus that received a “D” or lower rating for one of the two most recent school years, not including a year where the campus received a rating of “not rated;” OR is a sibling of a child participating in the program

The voucher/ESA program would be administered by the Comptroller.

What Action to Take
We are urging all TASA members to reach out to their House members ASAP to oppose SB 8, which includes an ESA/voucher. TASA’s legislative priority on such measures is as follows:

“Oppose any state plan that would use vouchers, tax credits, taxpayer savings grants, tuition reimbursements, or any other means to divert public tax dollars to private entities, homeschooled students, or parents, with little or no academic or financial accountability or transparency to the state, taxpayers, or local communities.”

Look up who represents you in the Texas House/find contact info

If your state representative is a member of the House Public Education Committee, please contact your representative immediately and ask them to oppose SB 8 and NOT pass the bill out of committee on Wednesday.

If your state representative is NOT a member of the House Public Education Committee, please contact your state representative and urge them NOT to support this measure that may come before the full House soon, as the Texas Legislature is entering the final weeks of this legislative session.

Talking Points on ESAs/Vouchers

  • Private schools are not accountable to taxpayers; they are not required to report student achievement data to the state.
  • Private schools do not have to accept all students; they can discriminate.
  • The superiority of private schools is a myth. Private schools are not required to hire certified teachers. No credible research exists to suggest vouchers improve academic performance.
  • Vouchers drain resources from public schools; other states have shown that voucher costs often grow well above projections.
  • Texas already ranks 40th in per-student spending and the rate of inflation since 2019 is 14.5%, per the Comptroller.
  • Choice already exists within the public school system: Districts have transfer policies, magnet schools, career/tech academies, etc.
  • Vouchers subsidize tuition for existing private school and homeschooled students,
    putting a huge new financial burden on the state.

More Talking Points on Vouchers

Why Vouchers are Not Right for Texas