CNA Staff, Nov 20, 2023 / 16:56 pm
Lawmakers in Texas on Friday voted down a section of a major education bill that would have created a publicly-funded education savings account (ESA) for students wishing to attend private schools, including religiously-affiliated schools.
The Texas House voted 84-63 Nov. 17 in favor of an amendment to entirely remove a section from H.B. 1 related to school choice. That section would have allowed parents to make use of the equivalent of 75% of the cost of sending the student to public school to instead help pay for the educational institution of their choice. The amendment garnered support from 21 Republicans, most of whom represent rural districts, joined by all the House’s Democrats, KVUE reported.
With the vote, the future of the 177-page education bill itself is now uncertain. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has said he will veto any education legislation that does not contain school choice vouchers and will continue to call lawmakers back to the state capitol until they pass a school choice bill, KVUE reported.
Catholic bishops in the state have expressed support for earlier efforts in the state Legislature to enact school choice, while public school advocates have argued that the ESA program would divert funds away from needy public schools, especially in rural areas with fewer private school options available.