A new report highlights the astronomical cost of the school spending bills that have been proposed during the recent special legislative session.

School choice is a priority of the Republican Party of Texas as well as of Governor Greg Abbott. But while the Senate passed school choice numerous times, the House voted to kill a school choice proposal that was included as part of omnibus school spending legislation.

A report from the Huffines Liberty Foundation criticizes both plans for putting “billions of taxpayer dollars more into public education than they did into school choice.”

Specifically, the House proposal would have put nearly $30 billion over the next five years towards increased government school spending, compared to less than $7 billion for the actual school choice program.

The Senate’s proposal would place an extra $14 billion towards public education, with a one-time $500 million expenditure on school choice that would need to be appropriated annually.

“This fight is not about what’s best for the teachers, superintendents, or school districts. This is not even about ‘school choice.’ This is a coordinated effort by elitists in Austin to limit parental choice. To crush potential competition and further empower a government monopoly,” Don Huffines, a former state senator, told Texas Scorecard.

What’s needed is a refresh, a new approach. Legislation that treats parents, students, and taxpayers with care. There are three things I would suggest:

First, pass a stand-alone school choice bill without pouring billions more into government schools. It should be simple, reasonable, and to the point. Texans should be able to read the text and grasp the issue. No extraneous add-ons, no sleight-of-hand tricks.

Second, make school choice part of the school funding formulas so the money follows the students. This saves money instead of costing money.

Finally, use tax credits rather than tax dollars so that the program operates under free market conditions, without government restrictions over private or home schooling.

“As much as our state needs parental choice in our education system, it is important that the final bill does not come at the cost of empowering enemies of our education system. We have done enough of that already,” he added.

The Huffines Liberty Foundation has also released a full school choice plan to create tax-credit education saving accounts.

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens