AUSTIN - It may take a while before state lawmakers take a vote on a controversial bill regarding school vouchers.
Senate Bill 3 has been an on-going debate for months. Vouchers -- or Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) -- would essentially give parents a portion of their public school property taxes back to spend on their child's private school education. The amount students receive would be based on their parents' income. The bill also creates a tax credit scholarship for children who qualify.
Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Education held a public hearing for the bill, did not vote on it.
Supporters of the bill said it allows parents to pick the best school for their child -- whether that's a charter school, an online school or even home school.
Many parents and educators are concerned that if the bill passes, public schools will suffer. Opponents of the bill argue that public schools are already under-funded, and shouldn't have money taken away.
They also said there are hidden factors to consider such as costs vouchers don't cover. Those costs include transportation, lunch, counseling services and possible tuition gaps which result in equity and access concerns.
"We know that money is gonna be tight," Mark Wiggins, a lobbyist with the Association of Texas Professional Educators, said. "The last thing that we want to do is to take more money away from our school kids to create a voucher program which is a new corporate welfare entitlement that will go to benefit private businesses and not the kids."
Even with the push back, both Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Gov. Greg Abbott are huge supporters of the concept.
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