The Texas Senate voted 19 for and 12 against to pass Senate Bill 2. The bill was authored by Larry Taylor, the Senate Education Chairman and a Republican elected from Friendswood. The result will lead to the creation of 'private school choice' special program. The Senators also discussed yet another bill, the Senate Bill 16. This leads to the creation of a commission where the school finance will be studied. The second bill was discussed for about an hour prior to it being passed unanimously. Other than the two bills, four more remained to be discussed.
Use of funds
According to the measures to be adopted under Senate Bill 2, approximately 6,000 students will receive scholarships for a maximum amount of $10,000 if they want to attend private schools. About another 26,000 students will receive $50 to pay for transportation or supplemental services. They can also use the money to remain enrolled in the private schools. The required funds will flow in via donations from the insurance companies. The latter will receive hefty tax credits in lieu of such an action. The tax credits are stopped at about $75 million.
Only after the Senate provides their final approval, will they be sent to the House. Each legislation solves a number of issues which Governor Greg Abbott discussed in his call for the special session during the July to August period. The Senate Bill 2 will lead to the creation of a scholarship program based on tax credits. It will subsidize private school tuition applicable to students having disabilities. This measure was agreed to by Senate Education Committee after they heard from parents, activists, and educators testifying for the bill and against it for about eight hours. Taylor said that the kids were extremely bright, but they needed a little help. He reassured everyone that disabled students would be eligible for such scholarships.
The Senate Bill 2 includes a $270 million tranche for funding the public schools' program. The scheme includes $60 million earmarked for charter schools. Another $60 million will be given to the quickly growing facilities for public schools and about $150 million will be given as a hardship grant program for the struggling rural schools which relied on the once operational, now extinct state aid program. The money needed will be borrowed from Health and Human Services Commission.