Texas House Education Committee Approves $7.6 Billion Education Bill, Including Vouchers

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Controversial Voucher Program Included in Bill

A Texas House education committee on Nov. 10 approved a $7.6 billion education bill that includes a controversial voucher program. The bill, House Bill 1, would give families taxpayer money to send their children to private schools. It would also increase funding for public schools and give teachers a one-time bonus.

Bill Would Increase Public School Funding, Give Teachers Bonus

In addition to the voucher program, Buckley’s 177-page proposal would increase per-student funding for public schools from $6,160 to $6,700. The allotment would also be adjusted for inflation once every two years. Public school teachers, librarians, counselors and nurses would receive a $4,000 bonus this school year, while part-time employees would get $2,000. Schools would be expected to use a portion of the $540 basic allotment increase to maintain the raises, lawmakers said.

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Voucher Program Would Be Open to All Texas Students

The education savings account program would be open to all Texas students, although low-income families and students with disabilities would have priority access to the $10,500-per-student allotment. Homeschooled students could receive $1,000 per year to cover their learning materials and other expenses.

Public School Leaders Oppose Voucher Program

During the committee hearing, public school leaders and special education advocates argued that a voucher program would divert money away from “already underfunded” public schools.

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Bill Could Be Considered by Full House Next Week

The full House could consider HB 1 as early as next week. House lawmakers are also poised to consider a $205 million school safety proposal, which would propose a new fund that Texas voters could approve.

Source: Community Impact

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