House Committee Votes to Hold Texas Kids, Texas Education Agency Hostage to Vouchers
Public Education Committee Adds Vouchers to TEA Reauthorization Bill
May 18, 2005
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AUSTIN The House Public Education Committee today voted to put at risk the education of every student in Texas by attaching a controversial and reckless voucher scheme to a bill reauthorizing the Texas Education Agency, the president of the Texas Freedom Network said.
“The committee chose today to hold all Texas schoolchildren and the TEA hostage to the wishes of wealthy political donors who want taxpayers to subsidize tuition at private and religious schools,” said TFN President Kathy Miller. “So now we know that the priorities of these wealthy campaign donors are more important to our legislative leaders than the education of millions of Texas kids.”
The Public Education Committee today voted to add vouchers to Senate Bill 422, which authorizes TEA to continue operations. TEA reauthorization is required this year under the state’s “sunset” rules.
The new voucher language in S.B. 422 comes from House Bill 1263 by Rep. Linda Harper-Brown, R-Irving. Rep. Harper-Brown’s voucher scheme could drain more than $600 million from our state’s public schools to pay for tuition at private and religious schools.
The addition of vouchers to Senate Bill 422 jeopardizes final legislative approval for TEA reauthorization. When the Senate passed S.B. 422 on May 9, the bill’s sponsor – Sen. Mike Jackson, R-La Porte – pledged that he would reject the addition of vouchers to the bill by the House. TEA is the administrative unit for all Texas primary and secondary public schools.
“The clock is running out for legislators to reauthorize an agency that is vital to the efficient operation of Texas public schools,” Miller said. “Voting for a voucher scheme in S.B. 422 would put the House on a collision course with Sen. Jackson’s promise, and the casualties will end up being Texas schoolchildren.”