The Texas Senate approved SB 8, creating an education savings account program, Thursday evening by a vote of 18-13. Education savings accounts (ESAs) are a form of private school vouchers that send money to parents for reimbursement of education-related costs including private school tuition. The fiscal note for the bill projects costs to state general revenue of over half a billion dollars in the first two years, rising eventually to more than $1 billion by 2028.
Passage of the bill will set up a showdown of sorts in the Texas House of Representatives, which on the same day approved an amendment to the state budget that prohibits the use of public funds for private education. SB 8 will first be considered by a House committee before it can be scheduled for debate on the House floor later in the session.
The Senate has made its approval of additional public education dollars contingent on final passage of several bills, including SB 8.