If Gov. Brian Sandoval likes the way they do things in Texas — why else would he propose a business license tax based on gross receipts, a margin tax, just months after the voters rejected the concept at the polls and while Texans are trying to repeal their margin tax? — perhaps he’ll embrace a bill pending before Texas lawmakers to make school choice a practical and financially feasible reality.
Senate Bill 276 would give any parent who opts to send a child to a private school, any private school, up to 60 percent of what the state would spend to educate that child in a public school — currently about $5,200.
According to the Texas Tribune, the bill would not require private schools to be accredited or follow any curriculum standards. It would be solely the responsibility of parents. Unlike most of Sandoval’s plans the Texas bill would not limit eligibility to low-income families.
The bill states: “A parent or legal guardian of an eligible student who agrees to accept reimbursement in an amount that is less than the state average maintenance and operations expenditures per student may receive reimbursement from the state for the tuition paid for the enrollment of the eligible student at a private school in an amount that is the lesser of: (1) the tuition paid; or (2) 60 percent of the state average maintenance and operations expenditures per student.”
The writers of a Wall Street Journal op-ed observed: “This year, lawmakers should seize the opportunity to leapfrog other states by enacting universal educational freedom, putting Texas in a position of leadership. Texas is a bellwether — it is, as the saying goes, where the future comes to be born. If it can succeed in giving all parents the freedom to choose what’s best for their children, then reformers may be able to do the same elsewhere.”