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Public Education Chair: School Choice Not Moving Forward in House

Dan Huberty represents District 127.
Texas House of Representatives
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Dan Huberty represents District 127.

The chairman of the House Public Education Committee has said there is no path forward for a school choice bill in the House during this legislative session. 

State Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Houston) told the Texas Tribune news website that he believed a House version of the bill was unlikely to move forward if submitted. 

"I believe so, yes," Huberty responded when asked if school choice was "dead to you as an issue" by Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith in an interview Tuesday.

He added, according to the Tribune: “Well, in the current form that it is, I think if you look at it, I don’t know where they’re going to get the votes for it to get it out of the Senate ... Originally, there were some ideas about it, and they’ve added a bunch of things to it. I don’t even know if it comes to us.”

Senate Bill 3, which was submitted in late January by Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood), would allow parents to receive tax credits to send their children to private schools. 
 

Education officials in rural areas say such policies divert funds from public schools. 
 

Even some homeschoolers are concerned that the bill would necessitate state regulations be imposed on their curriculum.

Two lawmakers from northeast Texas -- Gary VanDeaver (R-New Boston) and Justin Holland (R-Rockwall) -- say they would reject a House version. 

Also, Dan Flynn (R-Canton) says he is waiting to see the House version. 

 

But the three elected officials representing northeast Texas in the Senate have refused to discuss the bill. 
 

One of those senators, Bob Hall (R-Edgewood), is a sponsor of the bill. Amy Lane, the senator's spokeswoman, did not respond to inquiries this week. 
 

Katrina Smith, a spokeswoman for Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls), did not respond to inquiries by phone or email this week.
 

And Cody Terry, the chief of staff for Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), did not respond to a message left at the senator's office on Tuesday. 
 

None of the three have responded to inquiries from KETR since the bill was introduced. 
 

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has emphasized that a school choice bill was a top priority this session. During the last term, a similar bill died in the House
 

Last month, education historian Diane Ravitch said that if the bill passed into law, it would harm public schools for the benefit of students from wealthier families who can afford private tuition. 
 

"The deal with education funding is that it's not growing," Ravitch told KETR. "It's the same pot of money. Only there will be less money for public schools."

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