This session’s HB 3 is not specifically education-related, but instead addresses the state's disaster response related to the COVID-19 pandemic or a similar disaster in the future.
As filed, the bill raised considerable concerns among the education community due to provisions that appeared to open the door for a form of vouchers, in which public education funds could go to a private entity. During a pandemic disaster, if a district/charter school did not offer in-person instruction for a student, the student could attend an “off-campus program” approved by the commissioner, and the student’s original school would have to forward the student’s state funding to the off-campus program.
TCTA and many others objected to the language, intending to oppose the bill, but bill author Rep. Dustin Burrows listened to concerns and agreed to remove the controversial provision. The bill is being heard in the House State Affairs Committee Thursday, and a committee substitute was presented that had the concerning language removed.
We will continue to keep an eye on this legislation to make sure similar provisions are not added back in at some point in the process.