GOP Prop 5 fuels the argument over Texas school choice

GOP Prop 5 fuels the argument over Texas school choice

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The argument over school choice has made its way to the March primaries.

On the Republican ballot is Prop 5, which begs the question, should Texas families get to choose the type of school their child attends?

GOP Proposition 5: Texas families should be empowered to choose from public, private, charter, or homeschool options for their children’s education, using tax credits or exemptions without government constraints or intrusion.

Nancy Sharp with Lubbock ISD said 'yes' with some stipulations.

"Parents ought to be able to have choice, but if you want to choose something other than the public education system, then that ought to be at your own expense."

Opponents of the proposal say it could indirectly take money away from the public school system.

"The school districts are funded based on how many students are in the system," Sharp said. "So, when there are fewer numbers, then that's less money that's coming into the system."

The proposal would use tax credits to incentivize parents to send their kids to private schools. 

"Seems like it's creating two tiers," Sharp said. "So, if you're affluent, then you've paid in a lot of money, you can pay for a lot and get the government credit. If you're less affluent, then you're not going to have as many options. So it's really not a choice for everyone, it's choice for some."

All Saints Headmaster Bruce Latta said his school is an option for those eyeing an exit from public ed.

"At the core of this whole debate is parent choice, and All Saints gives parents a great choice. There's a lot of advantages that public schools can't offer and parents get to choose whether they want it."

He said 'the devil is in the details' of this proposal.

"All Saints Episcopal School is an independent school, which means we don't receive funding from the government. Government funding always comes with strings attached, and we value our independence," Latta said.

His opinion: the money should be spread to all.

"I'm a huge fan and a product of public education, and so I would say more money for everybody, it's just a matter of paying for it."

The results of this March 6th poll will likely find its way into future legislation.

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