April 21, 2015
RELEASE: Excel National Applauds Texas Senate
for Empowering Parents and Expanding School Choice
Legislation provides school choice to low-income students and students with special needs
Tallahassee, Fla. – Today Patricia Levesque, Executive Director of Excellence in Education National (@Excel_National), issued the following statement on the Texas Senate’s passage of SB 4 by Senators Larry Taylor, Paul Bettencourt and Donna Campbell. The bill creates a tax-credit funded scholarship program that would enable low-income students and students with special needs to receive a scholarship to attend the private or public school of their choice.
“We are grateful for the leadership of Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and the Texas Senate for empowering parents and increasing school choice for students. Today’s vote affirms the Texas Senate’s position that all children deserve the best education available.
“Students’ learning opportunities should be prioritized over arbitrary boundaries and bureaucracy. We commend Senate Education Committee Chair Larry Taylor and his committee’s support for ensuring that all low-income students and students with special needs are eligible for the tax-credit scholarships. We look forward to consideration of this important legislation by the Texas House of Representatives.”
Learn more about Tax-Credit Scholarships (SB 4):
- SB 4 would enable low-income students and students with special needs to receive a scholarship to attend the accredited private school of their choice or educational assistance to attend a different public school.
- All K-12 students with special needs would be eligible to participate, regardless of income or county.
- All other students must reside in a county with a population greater than 50,000 people to be eligible. Those eligible students include the following:
- Students in foster care or institutional care.
- Students with a household income not greater than 250 percent of qualifications for free or reduced-price lunch.
- Students who were either enrolled in public school the preceding year or are starting school in the state for the first time are eligible.
- Counties with populations less than 50,000 can opt-in. Scholarships are greater for students with lower household incomes.
- Tax-credit funded scholarships and educational assistance would be supported through businesses directing a portion of their tax liability to one of several educational assistance organizations (EAO), which in turn would award scholarships to eligible students.
- Total tax credit scholarships and assistance that may be awarded is capped at $100 million for the 2016 state fiscal year, and increases by 10 percent each year thereafter.
- EAOs must be state-certified, non-profit and in-state organizations.