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Cardinal Testifies In Favor Of School Voucher Bill, Still Unlikely To Pass

Ryan Poppe | Texas Public Radio

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, testified in favor of Sen. Dan Patrick's bill that provides students with tax credits or vouchers to attend a private school.

"We have parents who are committed to their child’s education and want to get them out of poor performing schools," DiNardo said. "How could any of us look these parents in the eye and say that their children should be denied an opportunity for a better future simply because the system we have now, which in many cases is failed, is the only option we are going to allow them."

If the bill were to be approved, DiNardo said Catholic schools would be one of the largest beneficiaries. Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth was concerned with the topic of cost versus the amount the state would provide.

Davis: "Cardinal, I just have one more question for you. The tuition levels at your schools, can you walk us through - I know they probably vary, but if you have in mind what the average might be in the high schools?
DiNardo: "I think the average in the high schools in the Galveston/Houston diocese are around $12,000 to $13,000 a year."

According to the bill the state would provide an estimated $5,000 for select students to attend a private school. Davis said her concern is that truly needy families would not be able to come up with the additional $7,000 needed for tuition. 

Either way, with the clear message sent by the House and a lack of votes in the Senate it will be difficult bill to pass.