Gov. Greg Abbott announced the expansion of the special session agenda. He said this decision “follows productive discussions” with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dade Phelan.
“Working with Speaker Phelan and his House leadership team, the Speaker and I reached an agreement on school choice for Texas families, and I am expanding the agenda for Special Session #3,” said Abbott.
Abbott noted that “the STAAR Test will be phased out to be replaced with an improved assessment system,” and “billions more” taxpayer funding will go towards government schools. As for school choice, the amount of money participating students will be eligible for in their Education Savings Accounts will be “approximately $10,400 per year.” This is higher than the amounts previously proposed in the House and Senate versions. This program would be administered by the Texas Comptroller through an “education organization” the comptroller would oversee.
According to the governor’s office, the proposed legislation to expand school choice in Texas includes:
- Universal eligibility for all K-12 school children in Texas.
- Voluntary participation—parents, students, and schools choose whether they want to participate.
- Students will receive approximately $10,400 per year in their Education Savings Accounts.
- Phases out the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) Test.
- Students participating in the program will have the option of taking a norm-referenced test or STAAR test to ensure the program achieves good educational outcomes.
- Billions more in funding for Texas public schools for the biennium, including teacher pay raises and school safety.
The governor’s announcement followed a failure to meet a quorum in the Texas House.
The House GOP caucus held a press conference on the lack of quorum and said they cannot take up teacher pay raises in the governor’s new expanded call until a quorum is present.