Senate springs another voucher surprise | TCTA
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Senate springs another voucher surprise

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In a surprise move late Sunday, the Senate suspended rules to post a meeting of the Senate Education Committee for Monday morning at 8:30 to consider HB 100. The committee substitute includes a voucher/education savings account plan.

HB 100 is one of the House’s major education bills, and had been the main vehicle for teacher salaries and certain other reforms and funding provisions. The Senate had not held a hearing on the bill even though it was approved by the House in April and had been sitting in committee for weeks.

As considered by the committee, the bill includes provisions from both the House and Senate education bills, along with the voucher/ESA program. It increases the basic allotment by only $50 per student, while school finance experts have asserted that the increase should be closer to $1,000 per student just to keep up with inflation.

The bill passed out of committee on a 9-3 vote, after testimony from several witnesses, most of whom were opposed to the bill.

The bill should pass the Senate easily, and then it will be up to the House and bill author Rep. Ken King to determine whether to accept the Senate’s version, try to negotiate differences, or simply let the bill die.