A landmark effort that would empower Texas families and students with more educational options was approved by the state’s Senate Education Committee today.
Senate Bill 3, sponsored by Senate Education Chairman Larry Taylor, creates an Education Savings Account (ESA) for all Texas public school students. It also creates a Tax Credit Scholarship Program for select at-risk students, specifically students with disabilities, low-income students and students in foster care.
Governor Greg Abbott has joined lawmakers, including school choice champion Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, in supporting this legislation.
“Approving these educational options for students and parents would change the lives of countless Texas students. We applaud Gov. Abbott, Lt. Gov. Patrick, Sen. Taylor and so many others who are leading the effort to empower Texas families to find the best fit for their child’s individual needs.” – J. Alex Kelly, ExcelinEd in Action National Legislative Affairs Director
ESAs are an innovative way to bring customization to K-12 education. Through ESAs, parents are able to direct their child’s funding to the schools, courses, programs and services of their choice. Parents are also able to save unused funds for future K-12 and higher education expenses—creating an incentive for parents to evaluate K-12 service expenses not only on quality but also on cost.
Tax credit scholarship programs incentivize individuals and businesses to donate to nonprofit organizations that provide tuition scholarships to eligible students. These programs use entirely private funds and provide the ability for families facing particular challenges to find the educational option that best fits their child’s needs.
Representative Ron Simmons has authored a similar measure in the House, House Bill 1335, which creates an ESA program for children with special needs and other at-risk populations.