PRESS RELEASE: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Sen. Larry Taylor Host Press Conference Announcing Education Savings Account Legislation

PRESS RELEASE: Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Sen. Larry Taylor Host Press Conference Announcing Education Savings Account Legislation

Senate Bill 3 would establish an optional education savings account program upon passage by the Texas Legislature

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Senator Larry Taylor today hosted a joint press conference announcing the filing of Senate Bill 3, legislation to implement an optional education savings account (ESA) program in the State of Texas.

“Texas lags behind the rest of the country in school choice options,” Lt. Gov. Patrick said in his remarks. “It is time that Texas catch up with the rest of the country and give every parent their option to pick the best school for their child.”

Senate Bill 3, authored by Sen. Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood), would create an optional ESA program for Texas parents beginning in the 2018-2019 school year. Senate Bill 3 authorizes the program to be administered in the Office of the Texas Comptroller, outlines funding, eligibility and implementation mechanisms, and establishes guidelines for allowable expenses for ESA funds, including tutors and therapists for children. The bill also creates a tax credit scholarship to cover supplemental expenses or assist with tuition in other cases.

“Today we file Senate Bill 3 to expand options for parents and students in Texas,” Senator Larry Taylor added. “This legislation will level the playing field for Texas parents who are desperate for more choices but who are limited because of their own resources.”

“Expanding educational options for families is critical to Texas’ continued economic and cultural growth, and in the most critical cases can be life changing for the students who need it most,” said TEO Founder and Chair Stacy Hock. “We are grateful to Lt. Gov. Patrick and Sen. Taylor for their leadership on this issue, and look forward to working with the Legislature to create new opportunities for parents and students.”

Thirty states have enacted a private school choice program. Texas is not one of them.

ESAs are an innovative option for parents to give their child the educational environment of their choosing and are the path forward for states considering expansion of education choice measures. ESAs give parents the freedom to withdraw their children from public district or charter schools and receive a deposit of public funds into government-authorized savings accounts with restricted, but multiple, uses to defray the costs of educational expenses. States report high parental satisfaction from such programs.

Texans for Education Opportunity was founded in 2016 to expand high-quality education options for all Texas children, empower families with the tools and information they need to advocate for education opportunity, and prepare them to make their voices heard in the legislative session and beyond.

To view the full text of the bill, click here, or to download TEO’s one page synopsis, click here.