Legislation

Regular Session of the 87th Texas Legislature

House Bill 4537 (Middleton) – “Relating to the establishment of the Family Educational Relief Program and an insurance premium tax credit for contributions made for purposes of that program.”

This bill would create the Family Educational Relief Program which would allow parents of eligible private or home-schooled children to receive reimbursements for educational expenses from the state. The money would be distributed by Certified Educational Assistance Organizations which would be required to be non-profit (501(C)3) organizations. The program is funded by allowing entities a credit against the premium tax liability to the state. The total amount of tax credits for the program is capped at $200 million. The Coalition for Public Schools considers this a tax credit voucher bill since there is an overt transference of taxpayer funds to private entities.

House Bill 1015 (Toth) – “Relating to an education microgrant pilot program for certain children with special needs and other educational disadvantages.”

HB 1015 provides a payment directly from the comptroller to the parent of an eligible child in the Houston school district. Eligibility is predicated on special needs but seems relatively expansive in the bill. Because this bill provides for a direct transfer of taxpayer funds to a parent, the Coalition of Public schools considers this bill a voucher.

Senate Bill 27 (Taylor)  – “Relating to the state virtual school network; changing a fee.”

This bill provides for an expansion of the Texas Virtual School Network (TXVSN) and the use of the network by independent school districts and charter schools. The Coalition for Public Schools considers this a bill with a voucher in it because it removes the requirement that a student must attended a public school the previous year to enrolling in the TSVSN. Additionally, this bill allows students the ability to enroll in schools outside of their attendance zone, setting up schools to poach students from one district to another and making it harder to ensure quality control.

Senate Bill 1698 (Paxton) – “Relating to a franchise or insurance premium tax credit for contributions made to certain educational assistance organizations.”

This bill allows for the creation of up to 25 educational assistance organizations (EAO’s) that would provide scholarships for students and their parents to go to private schools. Businesses and other entities would receive a tax credit for donations to the EAO. Students may not receive more than 75% of the state average per pupil expenditure or 50% if the student’s parents are above 175% of the income level to determine free and reduced lunch status.  The Coalition for Public Schools considers this bill a “tax credit tuition” voucher because it results in taxpayer funds going directly to a non-profit, private entity.

Senate Bill 1968 (Bettencourt) – “Relating to the establishment of the Family Educational Relief Program and an insurance premium tax credit for contributions made for purposes of that program.”

This is the companion bill to HB 4537 and is identical to it. The bill would create the Family Educational Relief Program which would allow parents of eligible private or home-schooled children to receive reimbursements for educational expenses from the state. The money would be distributed by Certified Educational Assistance Organizations which would be required to be non-profit (501(C)3) organizations. The program is funded by allowing entities a credit against the premium tax liability to the state. The total amount of tax credits for the program is capped at $200 million. The Coalition for Public Schools considers this a tax credit voucher bill since there is an overt transference of taxpayer funds to private entities.

Senate Bill 1716 (Taylor) – “Relating to a supplemental special education services and instructional materials program for certain public school students receiving special education services.”

SB 1716 provides an account for parents of special education students to purchase supplemental services outside of the purview of the school district. Eligible parents would receive funds from the comptroller to purchase outside services from Texas Education Agency approved vendors. Because this bill provides a direct payment of taxpayer funds to private citizens, the Coalition for Public Schools considers it a voucher.

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Special Session of the 85th Texas Legislature

Voucher bills that were introduced in the Special Session of the 85th Texas Legislature are listed below. Click on the bill number to read the bill and to track bill activity. Click on the name of the author to find out more about them:

HB 52 by Simmons provides an Individualized Education Plan Account (IEPA) type voucher for students with a disability. The voucher provides 90% of the funding the child would have generated in a public school.  The money would come from the Foundation School Program. Click here to read more about the bill and find talking points. 

HB 58  by Simmons would provide a credit against an entity’s state premium insurance tax liability. This credit goes to fund non-public school tuition managed by an educational assistance organization and thereby diverts tax monies away from public schools to private schools. Click here to read more about the bill and find talking points.

HJR 29 by Anchia “proposing a constitutional amendment prohibiting the authorization or funding of an elementary or secondary education voucher program or similar program”.

HB 253 by Simmons would provide a $150 million in additional state aid for tax reduction to qualifying districts under a hardship grant and raise the Existing Debt Allotment for public schools. The bill contains a State Premium Tax Credit for donors and and Educational Expense Assistance voucher that is companion to SB 2. Talking points for HB 253 are identical to those for SB 2.

SB 2 by L. Taylor would provide a few funding concession to public schools but contains a State Premium Tax Credit for donors and an Educational Expense Assistance voucher for students with a disability. The amount of the voucher may not exceed $10,000 or the full amount of tuition to a private school, whichever is less.  The bill would require school districts to notify the parents of eligible students about the availability of the vouchers and inform them that they may be giving up their due process rights under the law by accessing them. Click here to read more about the bill and find talking points.

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Regular Session of the 85th Texas Legislature

Voucher bills that were introduced in the Regular Session of the 85th Texas Legislature are listed below.  Click on the bill number to read the bill and to view bill history. Click on the name of the author to find out more about them:

Senate Bills

CSHB 21 is a committee substitute of HB 21 (school finance bill) with a special needs voucher attached. Click here to find out more about CSHB 21.

SB 3 (Taylor, L.)- SB 3 is a voucher bill that includes both an education savings account (ESA) and an insurance premium tax credit.  Click here to find out more about SB 3.

SB 542 (Bettencourt)- SB 542 is a voucher bill that provides for a credit against an entity’s insurance premium tax liability.  Click here to find out more about SB 542.

House Bills

HB 1184 (Bohac) – HB 1184 is the companion bill to SB 542.  It provides for a credit against an entity’s insurance premium tax liability.  Click here to find out more about HB 1184.

HB 1335 (Simmons) – HB 1335 is a voucher bill that provides an education savings account (ESA) for students with a disability.  Click here to find out more about HB 1335.

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For more information contact Dr. Charles Luke at charlesluke43@gmail.com or by phone at 940-768-8594.