But in the northeastern corner of the state, Rep. Gary VanDeaver, a Republican whose district includes 30 rural school districts, is still unconvinced. He was one of several lawmakers who helped kill school choice legislation in 2017. He said one of the concerns he’s hearing from parents is that they’re paying property taxes, which fund public schools, but have opted for either home schooling or sending their kids to private school.
“I prefer to reduce their property taxes, so they have the option of spending that money any way they choose, whether it be alternative education choices, saving for college or purchasing a new car,” VanDeaver said.
Texas has passed some school choice measures. VanDeaver points to the approval of the state’s charter school system in the 1990s and giving students in low-performing schools the ability to transfer out of a district.
“Proponents of expanding school choice options often say the money should follow the student,” VanDeaver said. “Current Texas law already does that if a student transfers to another public school, including a charter school.”