HB 21, authored by Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Galveston-Houston), is a school finance bill which was passed out of the House last month, after which it went to the Senate. Last week, Sen. Larry Taylor (R-Galveston-Houston) amended HB 21 by adding a section that establishes a school choice program for special needs students. The TCCB supports HB 21, as amended.

Sen. Taylor chose to add an Education Savings Account (ESA) funding model to HB 21. Under this plan, students can receive an account funded by the state to use on educational expenses. Unused account funds roll-over year to year and can be spent on private school tuition or other educational expenses, such as books, therapy, and tutoring. The Senate Education Committee immediately passed the bill and the full Senate is expected to vote on and pass the bill this week.

After Senate passage, the bill will return to the House. At that point, the bill author – Rep. Huberty – can recommend that the House accept or reject Sen. Taylor’s addition. In either case, the full House will then vote on the bill. If Rep. Huberty recommends compromise, a simple House majority is needed to pass HB 21 into law.

Call to Action: Currently, HB 21 improves public school finance and establishes parental choice for students with great need. Please contact Rep. Dan Huberty and ask him to compromise with the Senate: 512-463-0520 or dan.huberty@house.texas.gov.

The Texas Tribune:”Senate panel tacks “school choice” provision onto education finance bill

“A Senate committee passed the House’s major school finance reform bill, after adding a controversial provision subsidizing private school tuition for special needs students – a move unlikely to go over well in the House.”

BY ALIYYA SWABY

“*Editor’s note: This story has been updated throughout.
*Correction appended

The Senate Education Committee Thursday passed the House’s major school finance reform bill, after adding a controversial provision subsidizing private school tuition for special needs students – a move unlikely to go over well in the House.

After a few hours of public testimony on the Senate’s version of House Bill 21, the panel voted 7-1 to adopt the bill. The committee’s chairman, and sponsor of the measure, Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, said the Senate version would cost much less than the House version – which has been pegged at around $1.6 billion over two years. Public education advocates who expected to speak in favor of HB 21 ended up switching their position to oppose it once they heard it included tuition subsidies for students with disabilities.”