With an anemic “school choice” proposal set to be considered Monday in the Texas House Committee on Public Education, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Sunday he would veto the measure if it were to somehow reach his desk. And he warned that if meaningful universal school choice doesn’t pass the chamber, he will bring lawmakers back for “special sessions.”
The Texas House has repeatedly rebuffed efforts to implement school choice, despite the issue being a priority of the Republican Party of Texas and the governor.
Passed by the Senate over a month ago, Senate Bill 8 by State Sen. Brandon Creighton (R–Conroe) would fund education savings accounts at $8,000 per student a year and provide a reimbursement of $10,000 to rural school districts with fewer than 20,000 students for each student who withdraws from public school.
The latest proposal from the House, however, would limit those who could benefit from the plan to special education students as well as those in F-rated school districts.
With the House Public Education Committee poised to approve the watered-down version on Monday, Gov. Greg Abbott says it’s not enough.
“This latest version does little to provide meaningful school choice, and legislators deserve to know that it would be vetoed if it reached my desk,” said Abbott.
In addition to threatening the veto of the weak bill, Abbott indicated he could call a special session if a meaningful school choice bill does not reach his desk.
“My staff and I will continue to work around the clock with the legislature to reach [the goal of universal school choice.] However, failure to expand the scope of school choice to something close to the Senate version or the original House version of the Senate bill will necessitate special sessions. Parents and their children deserve no less,” added Abbott.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick told Texas Scorecard he stands with the governor.
“We have passed school choice out of the Senate 3 times. This is the year to finally get it done,” said Patrick. “The parents of Texas have spoken. They want school choice. I support the statement from Gov. Abbott.”
The House Public Education Committee is slated to meet Monday morning at 8 a.m.