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Gov. Greg Abbott and legislation are working to amend School Choice Bill

Posted at 6:20 PM, May 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-22 06:32:53-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Texas Governor Greg Abbott is making efforts to expand Senate Bill 8, otherwise known as the School Choice Bill.

The School Choice Bill would give parents $8,000 for each student they take out of public school and send to a private or charter school instead.

Abbott says this bill protects parental rights to choose the type of education their child receives.

Corpus Christi President of the American Federation of Teachers Nancy Vera said the bill would give less funding to public schools, causing more harm than good.

"In the long run, public school students will not have the teachers they need to instruct them. It will affect their social skills and their ability to do well in their talents," Vera said.

Governor Abbott stated that he would veto any bill that he considers a toned-down version of the school choice bill. Vera said that parents' opinions are not being considered.

"Why even have the legislation to begin with? I think that he's not listening to the people and to those we have elected in office," Vera said.

Valeria Gurr is the Senior Fellow for the American Federation for Children. She believes the bill is a good option for low-income families who want to provide their children with a different environment.

"Families want options, and families do not deserve to only have access to certain public schools that are not serving them. What this is going to do is not defund public schools, but bring opportunities to the families that need them," Gurr said.

Gurr said that she has personal experience with putting her child in private school and saw the benefits of it. She said there are many factors that can contribute to making the move.

"When a child is failing, being bullied, or is not happy, he should have the access and freedom to take that money where he wants to," Gurr said.

According to the bill, if the child does not get into their school of choice for whatever reason, the $8,000 will still be given to that private or charter school. The public schools will not see that money again.

Abbott says if the bill is not expanded soon, he will call lawmakers into a special legislative session.