Legislators: Vote NO on all attempts to divert taxpayer dollars away from our neighborhood public schools.
Every one of us can name that one teacher — the one who helped us get ahead in school and make something of ourselves.
At a time we should be using a record state surplus to finally make teacher pay competitive, lower class sizes, and give all of our kids a chance to thrive, politicians are peddling voucher schemes that steal dollars from neighborhood schools to bankroll corporate private schools.
That means corporations line their pockets, while teachers face layoffs.
“School districts, what they have to do if they lose a student, [is] be smart about how they allocate their resources, and maybe that’s one less fourth-grade teacher.”
— Steve Lecholop, deputy commissioner for governance at the Texas Education Agency
In many parts of Texas, schools are the biggest employers in town. When we grew up, most of us had a bus driver to get us school safely and back, a nurse to mend us, and a guidance counselor to help us get to college.
When vouchers strip more money away from our already strapped neighborhood schools, the only people who will benefit are the richest parents, who are already sending their children to private schools. For everyone else, vouchers will crowd classrooms and put every member of the school community who keep the hubs of our communities running on the chopping block.
And it’s the hardest hit, and often more rural communities, that get left further and further behind.
We don’t have to wonder about whether voucher schemes are a bad idea. Plenty of other states’ experiences have shown us what vouchers lead to: defunded public schools, greater inequality, and the same or worse outcomes for students.
Voucher Bills in the 88th Legislature
|Bill||What It Does||Bill Author|
|HB 557||Would create a voucher reimbursement program administered by the comptroller for tuition, private tutoring, transportation, school supplies and other private education expenses. Each reimbursement would be capped at the deduction amount for state and local sales and use taxes claimed by the parent on their most recent federal income taxes. These reimbursements would be paid out of public education funds.||Rep. Cody Vasut|
|HB 619||Would create a private school voucher program funded by corporate donations and administered by a nonprofit. These corporations would receive a significant tax credit for their “donations,” tax dollars that would otherwise go to the general revenue fund and could be used to fund public education. The program is only available for certain student populations.||Rep. Matt Shaheen|
|HB 1892||Would create a voucher reimbursement program administered by the comptroller for private school tuition. Each tuition reimbursement would be paid for from funds that could otherwise go to public education. The bill specifically states private schools that participate in this program will not be accountable or regulated by any new state law.||Rep. Briscoe Cain|
|HB 1926||Would repeal the expiration date for the voucher program created by SB 1716 last session, making the program permanent. SB 1716 was a special education voucher bill that provided a $1,500 credit for additional services at the choice of the parent.||Rep. Lacey Hull|
|HJR 37 & SJR 72||Would amend the Texas Constitution to prohibit any political subdivision from regulating private schools.||Rep. Cody Vasut & Sen. Phil King|
|SJR 29||Would amend the Texas constitution to give parent’s the “right” to “choose an alternative to public education including a private school, parochial school, or home school.” Would also require school board meetings to be open to parents (they already are) and give parents access to all student teaching materials assessment instruments.||Sen. Angela Paxton|
|SB 8||Sen. Brandon Creighton|
|SB 176||Would create a private school voucher fund administered by the comptroller and carved out of the General Revenue Fund. The state would contract with nonprofits to award these vouchers to qualified applicants. The state would partially fund this program by awarding significant tax credits to corporations who donate to the program.||Sen. Mayes Middleton|
|SB 960||Sen. Donna Campbell|
|SB 2354||Sen. Paul Bettencourt|
Voucher Failures Across the Nation
A failed experiment after Hurricane Katrina.
- Almost double the negative impact on student test scores than the effects of COVID-19
- Parents forced to settle for less effective options when elite private schools turned them away
Home of the nation’s oldest voucher program.
Subsidizing the wealthiest families.
- 75% of voucher applications came from students already in private schools
- The voucher program, passed in 2022, is now projected to cost taxpayers at least $100 million more than the original estimate.
Texas can have well-funded, well-staffed schools that respect employees & help kids thrive.
Or it can have a voucher program that gives wealthy families a tax break.
That’s the only school choice in front of us.