The House rejected the Senate's version of the state budget in HB 1, as expected, and both chambers have now appointed members to the conference committee that will work out the differences between the two bills.
House conferees: Reps. Greg Bonnen, Mary Gonzalez, Jacey Jetton, Gary VanDeaver, and Armando Walle
Senate conferees: Sens. Joan Huffman, Robert Nichols, Lois Kolkhorst, Brandon Creighton, and Charles Schwertner.
A major point of education-related contention will be the Senate's Rider 86 (see text below).
While the House voted to include a rider providing that no public
funds could be used "to pay for or support a school voucher, including
an education savings account...." the Senate explicitly requires that a
voucher/ESA bill pass or public schools will not receive $5 billion
in increased funding.
This sets up a showdown among the members of the conference committee, as Gov. Abbott and Lt. Gov. Patrick have both set a voucher plan as one of their top priorities for the session. Three of the five House conferees (Gonzalez, VanDeaver and Walle) voted for the anti-voucher amendment.Rider 86
Contingency for Senate Bills 8, 9, 11, 1474, & 2565. Out of amounts appropriated above in Strategy A.1.1, Foundation School Program - Equalized Operations, $5,000,000,000 shall be used to provide increased funding for school districts and charter schools, contingent on the enactment of the following bills:
(a) SB 8, relating to public education, including parental rights and public school responsibilities regarding instructional materials and the establishment of an education savings account program, or similar legislation by the Eighty-eighth Legislature, Regular Session;
(b) SB 9, relating to the rights, certification, and compensation of public school educators and assistance provided to public schools by the Texas Education Agency related to public school educators and to certain allotments under the Foundation School Program, or similar legislation by the Eighty-eighth Legislature, Regular Session;
(c) SB 11, relating to measures for ensuring safety and security in public schools, including measures related to certain student records and truant conduct, or similar legislation by the Eighty-eighth Legislature, Regular Session;
(d) SB 1474, relating to special education in public schools, including the special education allotment under the Foundation School Program, an education savings account program for certain children with disabilities, and a grant program to reimburse public schools for the cost of certain employer contributions for retirees of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas employed to teach special education, or similar legislation by the Eighty-eighth Legislature, Regular Session; and
(e) SB 2565, relating to instructional material and technology, the adoption and revision of essential knowledge and skills of the public school foundation curriculum, and creating allotments for the procurement of certain instructional materials under the Foundation School Program; authorizing a fee, or similar legislation by the Eighty-eighth Legislature, Regular Session.