Monday, February 28, 2005

Eight Districts Targeted for Vouchers in H.B. 1263

TO: Coalition for Public Schools Organizations

FROM: Carolyn Boyle

School Districts in H.B. 1263: Eight school districts would be required to participate in the private school voucher pilot program proposed in H.B. 1263. The bill author is Representative Linda Harper-Brown (R-Irving), and there are now seven co-authors of H.B. 1263:

Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler

Rep. Carl Isett, R-Lubbock

Rep. Jim Jackson, R-Carrollton

Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, R-Rockwall

Rep. Jerry Madden, R-Plano

Rep. Larry Taylor, R-League City

Rep. Corbin Van Arsdale, R-Houston

According to Erin Sanders, legislative assistant to Rep. Harper-Brown, following are the school districts that would be required to participate in the H.B. 1263 voucher program:

Austin ISD

Dallas ISD

Edgewood ISD (San Antonio)

Fort Worth ISD

Houston ISD

Masonic Home ISD (Fort Worth)

San Antonio ISD

South San Antonio ISD

None of the bill's co-authors represent any of the eight voucher school districts. The co-authors are not willing to have vouchers in their own school districts but want to inflict this risky pilot on other districts. Hundreds of millions of dollars would be siphoned from these urban districts to subsidize private schools. Because of the number of co-authors, it appears that H.B. 1263 may be pushed in the Texas House over H.B. 12, the other voucher bill by Rep. Frank Corte (R-San Antonio).

Students in the eligible districts who would receive a voucher under H.B. 1263 include:

-- Every student of limited English proficiency

-- Every student eligible for the free or reduced price lunch program

-- Every student who is eligible for special education

-- Every student in grades 3-12 who did not pass any section of the TAKS test

-- Every student in PreK-3rd grades who did not pass a readiness test
-- Every student who fails two subjects during a semester

-- Every student who is pregnant or a parent

-- Every student placed in an alternative education program, has been expelled, is on parole or probation

-- Every student who is homeless.

H.B. 2. The number one topic of discussion in Austin this week is H.B. 2, Chairman Kent Grusendorf's education reform bill. It is extremely controversial and opposed by all of the education organizations. Tension is high about this legislation. The committee substitute for H.B. 2 is available at this link: You may learn a great deal by listening to the meetings of the House Committee on Public Education (it's going on right now if you are reading this Monday evening) or in the archived format at this link:

If you are communicating with state legislators regarding H.B. 2 this week, be sure to tell lawmakers to keep vouchers out of the bill and to oppose any other bill or floor amendment that uses public money to pay private school tuition!

Coalition for Public Schools, 1005 Congress Avenue, Suite 550, Austin, Texas 78701-2491, (512) 474-9765, Fax: (512) 474-2507, Carolyn Boyle, Coordinator

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