Texas Governor Greg Abbott Warns Legislature Against Latest Version of School Choice Bill

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Texas Governor Greg Abbott released a statement today as the state legislature considers pivotal school choice legislation in the final weeks of the legislative session. In the statement, the governor warned against the latest version of the bill, saying that it does little to provide meaningful school choice.

“Empowering parents to choose the best educational path for their child remains an essential priority this session,” the governor said. “A majority of Texans from across the state and from all backgrounds support expanding school choice.”

The governor went on to say that the Senate’s version of school choice makes about 5.5 million students eligible, while the House’s version proposed last week would make about 4 million students eligible. However, the latest House version of school choice, which came out over the weekend, only applies to about 800,000 students. It also provides less funding for special education students than the original House version of the Senate bill and denies school choice to low-income families that may desperately need expanded education options for their children.

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“This latest version does little to provide meaningful school choice, and legislators deserve to know that it would be vetoed if it reached my desk,” the governor said. “Instead, the original House version of the Senate bill provides a more meaningful starting point to begin House-Senate negotiations.”

The governor noted that the number of House members supporting school choice has continued to grow as the session has progressed. He also said that the realization that the STAAR test will be eliminated if school choice is enacted is attracting even more legislators.

“No doubt other modifications can be made to the original House version of the Senate bill to attract even more legislators, as well as to bridge the divide with the Senate,” the governor said. “Parents and their children deserve the time and effort this will take. My staff and I will continue to work around the clock with the legislature to reach that goal.”

However, the governor warned that failure to expand the scope of school choice to something close to the Senate version or the original House version of the Senate bill will necessitate special sessions.

“Parents and their children deserve no less,” he said.

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