School vouchers bill passes through special session

The Texas State Senate has resurrected a bill that would provide tax-payer school vouchers for disabled students. After several hours of testimony the bill made it through the Senate Committee on Education’s hearing.

SB 2 would provide tax payer funded scholarships or vouchers in the amount up to $10,000 to special needs students to attend a private school of their choice. 

Senators on the panel say the bill would move millions in state money and place them into public schools as well. Critics of SB 2 say parents may not realize by accepting the 10-thousand dollar voucher, that they are giving up their rights under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and private schools may not be equipped to handle special needs students.

“If they use the $10,000 voucher, number one, it's not clear if the school will charge the additional amounts for services. When it comes to the actual instruction, we have no public accounting of the quality of special-ed services provided by private schools,” said Luis Huerta, associate professor of education and public policy at Teacher’s College, Columbia University.

In addition, SB-16, the school finance bill was advanced.

SB-16 is proposing the creation of a commission to improve the public school finance system all together.

Both bills will move on and be heard by the full senate.