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On October 31, Gov. Greg Abbott announced that he had issued a proclamation expanding the Special Session #3 agenda for universal school choice to include additional school finance, such as teacher pay raises, school safety, and special education.

According to the announcement, the expanded special session agenda “follows productive discussions with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Speaker Dade Phelan.”

The governor stated in the announcement:

“Working with Speaker Phelan and his House leadership team, the Speaker and I reached an agreement on school choice for Texas families, and I am expanding the agenda for Special Session #3. The legislation will create an Education Savings Accounts program with universal eligibility for all Texas schoolchildren and will be entirely voluntary for families and schools to participate. Participating students will be eligible for approximately $10,400 per year in their Education Savings Account, administered by an education organization overseen by the Texas Comptroller on behalf of the parents and students participating in the program. We will also provide billions more in public education funding to boost Texas’ top-notch public school system, including teacher pay raises, while staying within the constitutional spending limit. This bill will codify recommendations made by the Teacher Vacancy Task Force, the Commission on Virtual Education, and the Commission on Special Education Funding. Importantly, the STAAR Test will be phased out to be replaced with an improved assessment system.”

The announcement also lists the following “key aspects” of the proposed legislation:

  • Universal eligibility for all K-12 schoolchildren in Texas
  • Voluntary participation by parents, students, and schools
  • $10,400 per year per student Education Savings Account
  • Phasing out of the STAAR
  • ESA students to have the option of taking a norm-referenced test or STAAR “to ensure the program achieves good educational outcomes”
  • “Billions more in funding for Texas public schools for the biennium, including teacher pay raises and school safety”

View the expanded special session proclamation.