Vouchers and salaries headed to Texas House | TCTA
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Vouchers and salaries headed to Texas House

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Two education bills passed the Texas Senate floor Thursday: SB 1 with an 18-13 vote and SB 2 with a 30-1 vote. Both will now proceed to the Texas House where they may be debated, or the House may opt to consider its own proposals instead.

SB 1, the special session’s voucher bill, experienced the most vigorous debate of the day and a number of proposed amendments. Notable among them were:

  • A successful amendment by Sen. Creighton that caps the number of vouchers available to students already attending private school at 10% (but only in a situation where there were more applicants to a school than available slots; if the number of applicants does not exceed availability, there would be no limit on the number of private school students who could benefit from the vouchers). This amendment also provides that $1,000 vouchers could be granted to homeschooled students.
  • A series of amendments by Sen. Menendez that failed which would have increased protections for special education students who use vouchers.
  • A successful amendment by Sen. Perry to provide transition funding for small districts that lose students to the voucher program.

SB 2, the special session’s education finance bill that includes $3,000 or $10,000 salary increases for classroom teachers, received a few notable amendments, including a one-year extension to the formula transition grant from 2019 and a grant for school districts that outgrow the 5,000 student mark to ease the transition between the higher and lower salary levels. Democrats proposed several amendments, but all failed on party line votes.

The House is likely to begin hearing bills next week in committee. With the ball in House’s court, all eyes on are them to see how (and if) vouchers and teacher pay raises emerge from the lower chamber.