District provides update on Special Session of the 88th Texas Legislature
October 6, 2023
On Thursday, October 5, Governor Abbott announced the third special session of the 88th Texas Legislature. The session will begin at 1pm on Monday, October 9. One item on the agenda for this special session pertains directly to public schools. That item states: Legislation providing education savings accounts for all Texas schoolchildren. Here is a link to the proclamation calling this special session.
Education savings accounts are commonly referred to as vouchers. These accounts would take money dedicated to public schools and apply them to children who attend public schools, charter schools, and private schools per his previous direction. Public schools have not received an increase in funding since 2019 despite inflation of over 14% during that same time frame.
The biggest concern I have with the voucher program is the lack of accountability that comes with it. If these entities receive public funds then they should be required to follow the same financial and accountability requirements as public schools. These simple requirements should follow all public money.
This past session, the legislature provided no significant funding for public schools, except where minimal funding was provided to cover the cost of implementing required laws. For example, school districts received $15,000 per campus to hire armed security personnel; this is not nearly enough to cover that cost. The legislature also provided a 28 cent increase to school safety funding per student which is less than $3,200 for LTISD. This law, after the additional state funding is applied, has a negative impact on our budget of over $300,000. The unfunded mandates by our legislature have to stop. Funding schools should be a top priority for the state of Texas. Our students are the future of our workforce.
I encourage you to contact our legislators and share your thoughts regarding education savings accounts. To find out who represents you, simply go to https://wrm.capitol.texas.gov/home and add your home address. It will list who represents your Texas Senate District and your Texas House District. Thank you for your continued support of the students and staff of Lake Travis ISD!