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The voucher proposal in this session’s House Bill 3 has been removed.
In a meeting earlier today with Pastors for Texas Children and Raise Your Hand Texas, HB 3 author Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock) indicated that all education issues, including vouchers, are being taken out of the bill. This change will be reflected in a committee substitute later this week. We thank Chairman Burrows and Gov. Abbott for their wisdom in removing the voucher from the bill.
PTC Executive Director Rev. Charles Johnson gives “joyous testimony to the love and support Texans have for their neighborhood and community public schools – and firm opposition to the privatization of them through vouchers.”
“That we have to keep delivering that memo to the Governor and a third of the Legislature is outrageous and unacceptable,” he says.
Year after year, Pastors for Texas Children will continue to deliver that message, with your help.
In case you missed it, HB3 is a pandemic response bill that deals with many issues, among them school vouchers. Here is the language of the voucher: If a district of residence fails to compensate the off-campus instructional program before the 46th day after the date of receiving a bill, the commissioner of education shall reimburse the off-campus instructional program from funding deducted from the district.
According to this bill, the commissioner of education would get to decide which programs qualify for reimbursement from the state, which would be “deducted from the district” directly.
A voucher bill has been filed in every Texas Legislature since 1995, so we were not surprised, nor were we unprepared. The people of Texas do not want vouchers taking money from their public schools. Furthermore, we will remain vigilant to block any future voucher proposals.
We are thankful that this dangerous proposition was short-lived, and especially thankful for the public education advocacy community, which includes each of you, for making sure of that.
Last week, we were honored to join dedicated public education advocates in a webinar with Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. We love the different perspectives given by all the panelists, covering this issue thoroughly from all angles. The webinar is called “Fighting Voucher Legislation in 2021: An Update on State Voucher Bills and Tools to Oppose Them.” You can view it here to brush up on your talking points, as they will continue to be relevant.