Vouchers were top priority this week once more. Last week, the House passed an amendment to its budget banning the use of state funds for private schools. Sen. Dan Patrick’s crusade to pass SB 23, a tax credit scholarship program that would pay for certain students to attend private schools, continues. On Tuesday, SB 23 was voted out. The future of school choice legislation is uneasy since the House sent a clear message about its views. Legislation could still pass through the Senate.
Chairman Patrick’s signature charter school legislation passed out of the Senate Thursday in a much different form than it began. The result of weeks of negotiation, the bill now heads to the House.
Tuesday, April 16th, HB 5 will be heard in the Senate Education Committee. HB 5 reforms assessment, graduation requirements and school accountability.
GOP Senators are calling upon the Governor and the state to dip into the Rainy Day Fund. They hope to use $6 billion for water and road infrastructure. Education advocates criticized the Senate for cutting public school funding in 2011 when the Rainy Day Fund could have been used. Sen. Tommy Williams, chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, retorted that $5.4 billion is an inflated number. According to him, the real amount of budget cuts made in 2011 was $800 million.
News of the Week
Tax incentives for private schooling face dim prospects
The prospects are dim for legislative proposals creating tax incentives to help public school students pay for private school, but that did not dampen the fervor of “school choice” supporters at the Texas Capitol on Tuesday.
Senate GOP calls for $6B take from Rainy Day Fund
Abandoning resistance to seek financial solace in the state Rainy Day Fund, Senate Republicans unveiled a plan Thursday to spend $6 billion for water and road projects, which have taken on new urgency during this 140-day session that is nearing a final sprint.
Plan to Expand Charter Schools Clears Senate
As colleagues praised Education Chairman Dan Patrick‘s efforts at building consensus, a significantly altered version of his expansion of the state’s charter school system quickly passed out of the Senate Thursday afternoon.
In Texas, Nixing Algebra II Not Out of the Equation
As Texas re-examines what students should learn in order to earn a high school diploma, no part of the state’s curriculum has attracted more attention than a single advanced math course.
Senate panel OKs measure to fund tuition at religious and private schools
Senate Bill 23 by state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, would offer tax credits to businesses that provide scholarship funding for low-income students who want to transfer from low-performing public schools to private or religious schools.
Senator says education cuts were overestimated
Senate Finance Chairman Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, said Thursday that the amount of education cuts imposed by the 2011 Legislature was “more on the order of $800 million” and disputed the widely reported figure of $5.4 billion.
Statement by Senator José Rodríguez regarding passage of SB 2 from Senate today
“This bill as passed improves the Texas Charter School system in several key areas. It tightens regulations with respect to charter schools, and makes it easier to close bad charters. It creates a cap on the overall number of charters at 305 by 2019, growing with the population, and it encourages dropout recovery by removing any cap on schools that serve that population.”
Senate to tap that Rainy Day Fund
As for the debate about using some funds to make school districts whole, all I can say is that I wish everyone had been this enthusiastic about the Rainy Day Fund two years ago when we really needed it.
Patrick has his voucher hearing
State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, delivered an impassioned plea in support of what threatens to become a beleaguered tax credit scholarship plan during a Tuesday morning hearing on his legislation.
Bills at Texas Capitol cut school employee pensions
School employees are riled up over proposed cuts in Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) pensions called for by bills that would raise the minimum age for retirement with full benefits to 62, while also reducing health-care benefits to retirees.
Texas senator asks supporters to pray for school vouchers
The chairman of the state Senate Education Committee acknowledged Tuesday that his sweeping school voucher plan faces a tough road to becoming law, and he asked key supporters to pray for it.