For the third time in four legislative sessions, the Texas House of Representatives voted this afternoon to bar spending any public funds on vouchers for private and religious schools. The overwhelming vote on the amendment (offered by state Rep. Abel Herrero, D-Robstown) to the state budget bill is an important victory for supporters of public education. It comes after voucher advocates have spent a lot of time — in press conferences and legislative hearings — pushing voucher schemes that would drain millions of dollars from neighborhood public schools just two years after lawmakers cut more than $5 billion in funding from public education. We just sent out the following statement:
Overwhelming Vote Sends Message to Voucher Gang: Stop Wasting Time, Fully Fund Public Schools
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 4, 2013
Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller is releasing the following statement after the Texas House of Representatives voted 103-43 today to bar spending any public money for private school vouchers. The vote came on an amendment to the state appropriations bill, Senate Bill 1. The House also voted overwhelmingly to bar public funding for private school vouchers in 2007 and 2009. Miller said:
“You have to wonder how many times the House has to slam the door before the voucher gang gets the message. Instead of wasting time with press conferences in private schools and hearings on voucher bills that won’t pass the Legislature, lawmakers need to knuckle down and work on fully funding our neighborhood public schools.”
Maybe the vote is a gift of sorts for state Sen. Dan Patrick, the Republican chairman of the Senate Education Committee whose birthday is today. Sen. Patrick, who has been demanding passage of a voucher scheme, revealingly held a press conference at an Austin private school last December to talk about reforming public education. So now he knows he can stop wasting everyone’s time and focus instead on what voters sent him to Austin to do: support the neighborhood public schools that educate nearly 5 million Texas kids.