State Rep. Brad Buckley says some previously opposed lawmakers are least willing to listen to proposals.
AUSTIN, Texas — On the eve of a third special legislative session that will partly focus on public education and school vouchers, the Republican chair of the Public Education Committee feels good about the chances some version of “school choice” will pass the Texas House.
And multiple sources tell WFAA’s Jason Whitely a deal appears to be close in the lower chamber.
“My gut tells me that we can get there,” Representative Brad Buckley told us on Inside Texas Politics.
Since the regular session, Democrats and a group of rural Republicans have successfully blocked school vouchers, which would allow parents to use public tax dollars to send their children to private schools.
Critics say the effort would weaken public schools because it siphons money away from them.
But Buckley says he’s had numerous conversations with members from across the state and at least a few of those previously opposed have at least joined the table for discussions.
The lawmaker from Salado in central Texas also considers himself to be a “quasi-rural” Republican. He says he’s the son and grandson of public school teachers and a former school board member himself. And his wife is an assistant superintendent at Killeen ISD.
So, the Republican says he sees some room for compromise, using carrots instead of sticks.
And that, to him, includes exploring teacher pay raises, increased funding for school safety and increasing the basic allotment, or the amount of money the state gives to districts per student in average daily attendance.
“Those are really important issues in delivering high quality education to Texas school children,” he said. “And so, those types of issues, I think, have the power to move some members.”
But beyond that, Buckley also says lawmakers should address the accountability system in schools.
“So, that parents of students are better informed and have a, I would say, more practical and holistic look at how their kids are doing in school. Are they progressing? Are they meeting the standards? And if they’re not meeting the standards, what do we do about it to close the gaps?” asked the Republican.
The third special session, which will also cover border security, public safety and ending COVID restrictions, is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Oct. 9.
https://www.wfaa.com/article/news/politics/inside-politics/texas-politics/texas-school-choice-bill-legislation-chair-house-public-education-committee-likes-odds-passing/287-d0a89ea3-a3ae-4b59-bb01-de7966ffaaa9 Texas State Rep likes odds of passing school choice legislation