May 2024


have the resources or infrastructure to accommodate students with disabilities, and under the proposed bill, they are exempt from the requirements that they provide accommodations. This can lead to situations where students with physical or learning disabilities are denied admission or are unable to access the specialized education they seek from a private school. Vouchers harm rural schools and communities and are bad for Northeast Texas The proposed voucher program will have a negative impact on rural schools and communities in Northeast Texas. These programs redirect billions of dollars from public schools to private ones, predominantly in urban and suburban areas. In rural districts, every dollar is vital for maintaining quality education, hiring teachers, and providing essential services to students. Even a small loss of funding can hinder our teachers’ ability to meet the increasing needs of our students. Vouchers might seem like a solution, but for us, they only compound the challenges we face. As the largest employer in most rural

to the legislature or taxpayers. The lack of fiscal accountability conservatives demand and expect risks squandering our tax dollars

for private gain rather than quality education. Vouchers do not promote competition among schools

Fairness is crucial for true competition to thrive. However, under the proposed voucher plan, there is a stark contrast in the rules governing public and private schools. Public schools are held to strict accountability standards, including STAAR testing, teacher certification, attendance, and curriculum quality. Conversely, private schools receiving state funds via vouchers aren’t subject to these standards. They can maintain their own private accountability measures, academic progress data, and teacher certification criteria shielded from public scrutiny. Furthermore, private schools are free to select their students, while public schools must educate all children, regardless of background or ability. Even if private schools admit students with disabilities, the current voucher proposal exempts them from the same state and federal requirements that public schools must adhere to for educating students with disabilities. Adding to the disparity, the voucher program allocates more funding per student to private

communities and the center of social and cultural activity, the damage to our rural schools will quickly spread to the rural community, resulting in negative economic and social impacts. As the number of public school employees decreases, the Teacher Retirement System would become less financially sound because fewer teachers would pay into it. This would result in no future cost-of- living adjustments for retirees and increased contributions from the state, the school district, and current employees. Vouchers are too expensive and unsustainable

schools than public schools. While each private school student would receive a $10,500 voucher, public schools in our area, on average, receive less than $7,000 per student. This inequity further tilts the scale in favor of private schools, placing public schools at a competitive disadvantage. Vouchers will incentivize more illegal immigration Even education policies can impact

Under the proposed voucher plan, the additional initial cost to taxpayers will be $500 million per year. However, by year five, the cost of the voucher plan will explode to over $11 billion per year based on current cost estimates. In other states that have implemented vouchers, the ongoing costs consistently exceed the annual projected budgeted amount. Even with the booming Texas economy, we cannot afford this cost and its strain on our budget. The budget surplus other legislators and I have worked diligently to retain will quickly evaporate. Unfortunately, there are only two sources for generating additional revenue to pay for vouchers–reduced funding for public schools or increased property taxes. Vouchers do not meet the standard of conservative fiscal policy and accountability Conservatives advocate for responsible use of taxpayer funds and fiscal accountability, rejecting unchecked liberal spending without oversight embodied in the proposed voucher plan. Under the proposed voucher plan, the state will distribute billions of taxpayer dollars to private institutions with little to no accountability

border security and incentivize illegal immigration. The Supreme Court mandates free public education for children of illegal immigrants, necessitating state funding. Texas

follows this constitutional requirement as evidenced by the budget passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Abbott. Under the proposed universal voucher program, every child who enters this country illegally will be eligible to receive the annual $10,500 voucher, which is almost 50% more than a public school receives in funding per student. The current voucher program simply increases the cost of educating each child of every illegal immigrant, and that imposes an increased tax burden on every taxpayer. Vouchers do not provide true school choice. Vouchers harm rural schools and communities. Vouchers represent out-of-control liberal spending and not conservative fiscal accountability. Texas cannot afford the ever-increasing cost of vouchers, and vouchers create an additional incentive that will attract even more illegal immigrants to Texas.



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