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Government/Politics

Lt. Gov Patrick: School Finance Is Now Dead

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Ryan Poppe
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Lt. Gov Dan Patrick

Legislation to reform school funding is “dead.”  That’s what Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said in a statement late Wednesday.

The biggest rift over the school funding bill boiled down to vouchers backed by Patrick.  He pressed the Senate to add vouchers to the House’s legislation.

The House refused to agree to the vouchers, called education savings accounts, which would have allowed special needs children to use public money for a private school education or homeschooling.

Without the vouchers, the Senate declared school funding dead.

Rep. Dan Huberty, R-Kingwood, is chair of the House Public Education Committee and the author of HB 3.
Credit Ryan Poppe
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State Rep. Dan Huberty

The House’s Public Education Chairman, Dan Huberty, explained why the House did not see vouchers as a way to provide education for special needs children.

“Under these programs these students with special needs would receive less funding because their value under the state average would be calculated based off the state average and not on the student needs," Huberty explained.

The school funding legislation would have increased the amount of state funding for nearly public school student in the state.  School districts have said they desperately need that money.

“What are you going to tell those districts, what are you going to tell those children when you go home," Huberty told House colleagues.

Huberty said state senators will now have to answer to parents, educators and voters back home.

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Credit house.state.tx.us/members/speaker/
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House Speaker Joe Straus

House Speaker Joe Straus of San Antonio has made school finance reform a priority this session.  He expressed his disappointment in a statement saying fixing school finance “does not seem to be a priority of the Senate this session.”