I have heard from people on both sides of this debate who are very passionate about School Choice. After much research and discussion with those on both sides of the issue, I have strengthened my commitment to school choice and believe it to be a parental right to choose the best education for their child.
The approach I support is more in line with the recent Parental Rights bill passed by the Texas Senate, SB8. Senate Bill 8 gives parents the ability to exercise their freedom of educational choice by allowing free transfer between school districts as well as giving public school students the opportunity to attend private school with an Education Savings Account (ESA). This bill would have created savings accounts in the amount of $8,000 per student.
My original concerns of 1) diverting funding away from Public Schools and 2) no strings attached to teaching curriculum of private schools have been addressed in the senate bill. The fund comes from the state’s General Revenue. It DOES NOT come from the state’s dedicated public education budget or from local property taxes. Moreover, SB8 gave $10,000 to a school district with less than 20,000 students for anyone who left. This so-called ‘hold harmless’ provision would cover every district in HD2 since there are no ISDs with more than 20,000 students.
Furthermore, under SB8, the ESA is for a very limited amount of families. It does not apply to home schools, it is only for accredited private schools, and the student must have attended the public school for 90% of the previous school year or will be entering pre-K or kindergarten for the first time.
Doug Roszhart for Texas
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