The House Republican leading efforts on ”school choice” legislation submitted his version of a voucher proposal Thursday night, calling for boosts to public education in exchange for implementing a capped education savings account program.
House Bill 1 laid out a different approach than the Senate’s version, which was approved last week, that would award families $8,000 to use for private education.
The bill from Rep. Brad Buckley, R-Killeen, would give parents 75% of the average amount that each school receives in per-student state and local funding, allowing them to use that for private school tuition or some other approved expenses.
Gov. Greg Abbott has been pushing all year for a school voucher program, and his office indicated Friday that the new bill was insufficient. Abbott spokesperson Renae Eze said in a statement that Abbott spoke with House Speaker Dade Phelan on Friday morning and let him know the legislation “differs from what the Governor’s office had negotiated with the House’s leadership team selected by the Speaker.”
The House bill would also raise the state’s basic allotment — the base amount of money the state gives a district for each student it’s educating. That amount, currently $6,160, has not increased since 2019. For the first year, school districts would receive a minor increase in the basic allotment, raising it to $6,190. In the second year, the allotment would increase by another $310.
The state provides other funding beyond the basic allotment, meaning the amount used to determine how much education savings account money parents are eligible would be higher. The state would be required to determine that number by Jan. 15 of each year.