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Our friends in Texas, Pastors for Texas Children, report that a legislative proposal for vouchers was beaten again! They work closely with parent groups across the state.
PASTORS FOR TEXAS CHILDREN
VOUCHER REMOVED FROM BILL!
This week is evidence of what happens when you rally your voices in support of our children. If you remember, we started off the week letting you know that SB 1716 was coming before the House Public Education Committee without a public hearing. The bill was a special education voucher program that had no companion in the House, meaning the Public Education Committee had not heard testimony on this subject this session.
You raised your voice against the committee’s plans not to follow due process, and they heard you. They changed their plans and held a public hearing on Tuesday.
Representative Gary Vandeaver proposed an amendment to the bill that changes the dispersement of special education funding. Under his amendment, the money is channeled through the publicly overseen regional Education Service Centers—not given in direct payments to families with no accountability. Thus, the voucher was stripped from the bill. In addition, the decision on where and how to spend the money will be made in conjunction with the child’s Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) committee. This amendment was amenable to Pastors for Texas Children, because it gives local control and oversight to the use of these public funds. We changed our testimony to be in support of the bill with the amendment. The committee then passed the bill.
We heard from several offices that they had received many calls on behalf of Pastors for Texas Children. Thank you for your phone calls, emails and to those of you who submitted electronically written testimony against SB 1716. It protected our most vulnerable children from losing precious resources.
We have just over a week left of this legislative session, and more issues like these will arise! Stay vigilant with us. Together, we can ensure that our Texas school children are provided with the education God intends for them to receive.
Pastors for Texas Children remains committed to defending our public schools from privatization efforts through vouchers and even through charter schools. We are called to protect God’s common good, found in our traditional public school system, and enhanced by programs and services found in community schools.