Texas Senate Approves Educational Options for Students With Special Needs

Texas Senate Approves Educational Options for Students With Special Needs

May 22, 2017

Texas families that have children with special needs would have the opportunity to find more educational options to fit their unique needs under a bill approved by the state Senate today.

House Bill 21 makes several changes to the state’s public school financing system and creates an Educational Savings Account (ESA) for students with special needs.

States around the country have created ESAs so families can find a more personalized approach than can be provided in traditional public schools. Under HB 21, Texas special needs students who attended a public school the entire preceding year would qualify for the program.

ESAs place state dollars designated for a child’s education in an account that parents can manage to cover the cost of customized learning options. Under HB 21, qualified families would receive 90 percent of the average statewide per-student funding. That funding could be used to pay for online courses, education assistance like tutoring or therapy, tuition at accredited private schools, specialized equipment and other items to meet the unique needs of students.

The bill now goes to the Texas House for final passage.

“Education Savings Accounts have provided thousands of families around the country with the opportunity to personalize educational options to best fit their child’s needs. House Bill 21 would change the lives of Texas families and better prepare those students for success in school, careers and life. We appreciate the support of Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, Senator Larry Taylor, Representative Ron Simmons and so many other policymakers and advocates dedicated to helping improve the lives of all Texas families.” – J. Alex Kelly, ExcelinEd in Action National Legislative Director