Five bills promoting school privatization and private-school vouchers are among those filed by legislators so far in the current special session. These topics do not fall within the agenda defined by Gov. Rick Perry when he called lawmakers back to work on legislative and congressional redistricting on Memorial Day, after a half-hour break from the regular session. But the authors filed the bills anyway, just in case the governor opens up the agenda to consideration of their proposals.
Gov. Perry has not yet signaled what if any subjects other than redistricting he will place on the agenda. There is some talk that he may expand “the call,” as it’s known, on June 17, the day after his deadline for vetoing of bills passed in the regular session. At that point, given the 30-day limit that applies to special sessions, pending bills would have to run the legislative gauntlet and win passage in both the state Senate and the state House by June 26.
Texas AFT will be prepared for action and will help you take action on all pending education bills if their topics are added to the call. The five privatization and voucher bills on the watch list as of now are:
–HB 30 by Rep. Harold Dutton (D-Houston) and SB 22 by Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas), so-called “achievement district” bills, which provide for state takeover of neighborhood public schools, after as few as two years of test scores below state standards, and handover of those schools to charter operators; and
–SB 8 by Sen. Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands), SB 17 by Sen. Ken Paxton (R-McKinney), and SB 29 by Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels), which provide for varying versions of private-school vouchers, transferring state funds to private entities either directly or indirectly to support private education.