Texas Senate Offers Support for Educational Opportunities for Students with Special Needs

Texas Senate Offers Support for Educational Opportunities for Students with Special Needs

July 24, 2017
Senate lawmakers passed a bill today that would create tax-credit scholarships for students with special needs and expand facilities funding to include both charter and traditional public schools.

Tax-credit scholarship programs incentivize businesses to donate to nonprofit organizations that provide tuition scholarships to eligible students. These programs provide the ability for families facing particular challenges to find the best educational option for their child.

Additionally, providing facilities funding for charter schools would help meet the growing demand for charter schools in the state and help give charter students equitable access to quality facilities.
Senate Bill 2, sponsored by Senator Larry Taylor, allows parents of students with special needs to apply for a tax-credit scholarship up to $10,000 or the cost of tuition at a private school, whichever is less, or for up to $500 in educational expense assistance for academic support programs at a public school. The bill also provides $60 million annually in facilities funding for traditional public schools and public charter schools, each. Currently, charter schools receive zero facilities funding, so this would be a significant step in reducing this critical funding gap.

“This legislation increases educational freedom for Texas families through higher-quality educational alternatives to maximize each child’s learning abilities, especially those with unique needs. Additionally, all public school students deserve the same support, and SB 2 would help ensure families and students choosing to attend a public charter school enjoy equitable access to learning opportunities.” – J. Alex Kelly, ExcelinEd in Action National Legislative Director

ExcelinEd in Action thanks Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, Senator Larry Taylor and Representative Ron Simmons for their leadership and dedication to equity of opportunity, especially for Texas’ students who are struggling the most.

“We encourage the Texas House to take up this important issue and once and for all give Texas students with special needs access to more quality options and level the playing field for facilities funding for public charter schools,” added Kelly.