Gov. Abbott 'certain' school vouchers will pass next session

Texas Governor Greg Abbott's push for school vouchers has been a large part of the 2024 election cycle.

Education savings accounts, also known as school vouchers, failed to pass in the Texas Legislature multiple times in 2023.

The vouchers, which are opposed by Democrats and some rural Republicans, would give families state money to pay for private schools.


Gov. Abbott has made passing education savings accounts a priority, actively campaigning against candidates who oppose the legislation.

The governor sat down with FOX 4's Steven Dial to talk about the future of school vouchers in the state.

DIAL: "Are you confident that you'll have the numbers to to pass education savings accounts in '25?"

ABBOTT: "I'm very confident. After March the 5th [primary elections] we had 74 ironclad votes. You need 76 to get a bill passed. In these runoffs, we're going to win far more than just two races of candidates who support school choice. And so I feel certain school choice is going to pass this next session."

DIAL: "As the school year wraps up, you have some public school officials, some who are Republicans, who weren't too happy. What do you make of this all or nothing approach so far? How long is that going to take you?" 

ABBOTT: "Well, so listen, wait. We had a great program that we tried to pass in a special session that provided $6 billion more for public education, pay raises for teachers, the elimination of the start test plus school choice, and all the, teacher union folks and the administrators said, we don't want your money because they wanted to maintain their monopoly. And so when we get back into session with these new legislative members, they may not take up that deal, which was the best deal public schools could have gotten. The main focus is going to be focusing on what program is going to be best for all children in the state of Texas."

DIAL: "School districts are in their budget time right now. A lot of school districts will say, and have been echoing, that they haven't received an increase in the basic allotment for a number of years before the pandemic, and then the legislature didn't do anything. What are they supposed to do with their budgets?"

ABBOTT: "Listen, a lot of what you just said is completely false and completely misleading. It's a bogus talking point because the basic allotment represents only about half of the total funding that goes to schools. And the reason for that is because the full allotment of what they receive is between $12,000 and $14,000. And we as a state, as the legislature, we decide what the priorities are about, what we want to fund. And that's outside of the basic allotment. So, because we have found some administrators will not take the money that we gave to them to increase teacher pay and that we use it on other priorities. And so we said, well, we're going to take charge of this, and we're going to make sure this goes to teacher pay raises."


Texas Governor Greg Abbott talks border security, bussing of immigrants to other cities

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Representative James Talarico (D-Round Rock) is a former teacher.

He said the basic allotment concern is not a bogus claim.

TALARICO: "Nothing false about it. It's just math. The last time we increased the basic allotment for our schools was 2019. I know, because I was there, I was one of the authors of that bill, and they haven't gotten an increase since then. And if the governor is saying otherwise, he's lying."

DIAL: Are you fearful that there won't be, any public school funding in 2025? 

TALARICO: "The only reason we won't get public school funding in 2025 is Greg Abbott, because the only reason we didn't get public school funding in 2023 was Greg Abbott. He held funding for our neighborhood schools hostage to try to pass his voucher scam. That would have taken money out of our underfunded schools and given it to wealthy families who were already sending their kids to private schools. It was welfare for the wealthy, and Democrats and Republicans alike came together to reject that part of the bill."

FOX 4 asked Governor Abbott if he thinks public education funding will be increased next year.

ABBOTT: "[I am] confident about three things. One is school choice is going to pass. Two, we will do more to fund public schools, to increase pay for teachers, to make sure that teachers like here in Dallas are on a pathway, to a six-figure salary, but we will also make sure that reforms are in place to ensure that we are focusing on providing every child in this state with the best education, to make sure Texas kids are the best educated in the United States."

Watch Texas: The Issue Is every Sunday at 9:45 p.m. or watch it on-demand the next day on FOX LOCAL.