The state legislature is considering an amendment to an appropriations bill that would create a Taxpayers' Savings Grants (TSG) program. Here’s how it would work:
- Parents can transfer their child from a public school to a private school and use a Taxpayer Savings Grant to help pay the tuition. The maximum grant would be $5,143 or the cost of tuition, whichever is less.
- Research by The Heartland Institute shows approximately 350,000 students would be enrolled in private schools under the program. That’s about 6 percent of the number of students currently enrolled in the state’s public schools.
- Because the maximum grant is equal to 60 percent of what the state currently spends per student on maintenance and operations, the state will save $2 billion over the next two years.
- All parents with children currently enrolled in a Texas public school are eligible to participate. In addition, students enrolling in kindergarten and first grade for the first time are eligible.
- The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts will administer the Taxpayer Savings Grants Program. The Comptroller will adopt rules regarding application and reimbursement as well as rules to prevent fraud and abuse.
Resources from Texans for Voluntary Taxpayer Savings:
- “How the Funding Works,” a one-page summary and graphic showing how the program saves taxpayers money.
- “Answers to Frequently Asked Questions,” short answers to 17 frequently asked questions about the TSG program.
- “Coalition letter,” a letter endorsing TSG signed by the leaders of more than 20 civic groups in Texas.
- Texans only: “Write Your Lawmaker,” write a letter to your state representative and someone from Texans for Voluntary Taxpayer Savings will print and deliver your letter by hand to your representative’s Capitol office.
- “School Choice is Constitutional in Texas,” a brief by Allan Parker, president of Justice Foundation, explaining why the TSG is constitutional.
Resources from The Heartland Institute:
- “Budget Impact of the Texas Taxpayers' Savings Grant Program,” by John Merrifield, Ph.D., and Joseph L. Bast. This Policy Brief copublished by the E.G. West Institute for Effective Schooling and The Heartland Institute documents $2 billion in savings over the first two years of the program.
- “How Teachers in Texas Would Benefit from Expanding School Choice,” by Joseph L. Bast, Herbert J. Walberg, Ph.D., and Bruno Behrend. A Heartland Policy Brief explains why school choice benefits teachers by raising compensation, improving work conditions, and reducing spending on bureaucracy.
- “Q1: How would the TSG program affect the state’s ranking on per-pupil spending?” explains how the TSG would raise Texas’ ranking among the 50 states in per-pupil spending by between 3 and 8 places.
- “Q2: Would the number of openings at private schools increase fast enough to meet the expected surge in demand?” explains why existing private schools would rapidly expand and new schools would open to meet the expected increase in demand.
- “Q3: Would the TSG program hurt public school teachers?” identifies four ways the TSG program would benefit teachers, including raising annual compensation by as much as $12,000.
- Media Advisory: Heartland Institute, Allies Respond to Taxpayers’ Savings Grants Push in Texas Legislature
Americans want access to school vouchers so that they can choose between available schools for their children or perhaps choose to homeschool them rather than being forced to send them to the one closest government school in the area. Homeschooling is growing in popularity because parents are concerned about the quality of government schools and the questionable morality of government "sex education" as a for instance. The Texas plan is brilliant! Offer vouchers that are worth less than the cost of teaching children in the government schools. Increase the competition for students between public, private and homeschooling options while saving tax dollars.