BRYAN, Texas — The battle over the future of education in Texas has intensified as lawmakers have taken different positions on discussing school vouchers that passed in the Texas Senate but are still awaiting a vote in the House of Representatives.
These education bills were on top of lawmakers’ minds as the Texas Senate passed the school voucher bill. Now, the question is how far will you go.
However, it is deeply concerning to parents and a public school advocate who opposes the bill.
“I really don’t think this is going to pass,” said education advocate Judy Loans.
Erin Williams, a mother of two children with special needs who attend private schools, is also fighting not to sign the bill into law. She believes that private financing will strip her child of many resources.
“It’s scary, it scares me,” Williams said.
Senate Bill 8 passed a $302.6 billion budget with a provision to prevent spending of public funds on private schools. If signed into law, the bill would allow families to spend public dollars on private school expenses.
“There are no private schools, so they won’t have transportation, if they try to come to Bryan College station to go to school, there are a lot of restrictions,” Lyons said.
She explained how many children are not always guaranteed a place in a private institution, unlike public schools which accept any child.
“Public schools are proud to welcome every child, and that is why I am an advocate for public education,” she said.
Brian’s Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Clay Falls, also spoke on behalf of BISD and explained how concerned they were about the effects it would have on taxpayers.
“With the idea of vouchers, I’m concerned about the transparency of public schools at Bryan ISD, they need to have all of these procedures in place for how we keep track of our money, how it’s used, and we want to do what’s best for taxpayers,” Falls said. .
One of the bill’s strongest advocates is Gov. Greg Abbott himself, who claimed “our kids are receiving a radical wake-up agenda” at a rally to drum up support.
While the bill must then still pass through the House for a vote, she hopes the support from local lawmakers and the community will be enough to prevent this bill from passing and having a significant impact on public schools.
According to the Texas Tribune, the House vote suggests Senate Bill 8 may fall short of the votes needed to pass in the lower chamber to advance the bill.