Governor Abbott Expands Third Special Session Agenda
Governor Greg Abbott today issued a proclamation expanding the Special Session #3 agenda for universal school choice to include additional school finance, such as teacher pay raises, school safety, and special education. The expanded special session agenda follows productive discussions with Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Speaker Dade Phelan.
“Working with Speaker Phelan and his House leadership team, the Speaker and I reached an agreement on school choice for Texas families, and I am expanding the agenda for Special Session #3,” said Governor Abbott. “The legislation will create an Education Savings Accounts program with universal eligibility for all Texas schoolchildren and will be entirely voluntary for families and schools to participate. Participating students will be eligible for approximately $10,400 per year in their Education Savings Account, administered by an education organization overseen by the Texas Comptroller on behalf of the parents and students participating in the program. We will also provide billions more in public education funding to boost Texas’ top-notch public school system, including teacher pay raises, while staying within the constitutional spending limit. This bill will codify recommendations made by the Teacher Vacancy Task Force, the Commission on Virtual Education, and the Commission on Special Education Funding. Importantly, the STAAR Test will be phased out to be replaced with an improved assessment system.
This is the next step in the legislative process to deliver school choice to Texas parents and students who deserve the freedom to choose the education that best fits their learning needs. I look forward to working with both chambers of the Texas Legislature on getting this legislation to my desk to sign into law.”
Key aspects of the legislation to expand school choice in Texas include:
- Universal eligibility for all K-12 schoolchildren in Texas.
- Voluntary participation – parents, students, and schools choose whether they want to participate.
- Students will receive approximately $10,400 per year in their Education Savings Accounts.
- Phases out the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) Test.
- Students participating in the program will have the option of taking a norm-referenced test or STAAR test to ensure the program achieves good educational outcomes.
- Billions more in funding for Texas public schools for the biennium, including teacher pay raises and school safety.