Texas educators weigh in on school choice legislation
DENISON, Texas (KTEN) — Texas senators are considering legislation that is dividing schools across Grayson County.
Senate Bill 8 proposes creating educational savings accounts for parents who opt out of public education for their children to put toward private school tuition.
Similar to vouchers, each account would contain $8,000 of taxpayer money per student.
The Sherman Independent School District and the Denison ISD released resolutions against the bill, citing concerns about reduced funding.
"If a child moves from public education to private education, the school district automatically loses roughly $10,000 per student," said Denison ISD spokesperson Brian Eaves.
Another concern the districts identified is the lack of state oversight in private school curriculums.
Private schools see Senate Bill 8 as an opportunity to increase enrollment, but seek assurance on some key points.
"We improve access to education for our most vulnerable, that we maintain a strong accountability system in Texas so that schools that receive this money are doing what they're supposed to be doing," said Dr. Danny Ledbetter, principal of St. Mary's Catholic School in Sherman.
To offset funding lost by public schools, the bill provides smaller districts $10,000 per student lost annually for two years. To qualify, the districts must have fewer than 20,000 students enrolled.
Senate Bill 8 also includes restrictions on what public schools and charter schools can teach regarding sexual orientation and gender identity, but does not apply the same restrictions to private schools.