Committee Substituted Voucher Bill Sneaks Through Committee At Closed Meeting On House Floor

May 14, 2003

Austin, TX Chairman Kent Grusendorf called an impromptu meeting of the House Public Education Committee at his desk on the House floor this morning and hurriedly passed out a modified Senate Bill that includes a provision for a pilot Private School Voucher Program.

The original version of S.B. 976 establishes a Middle College Education Pilot Program for students at-risk of dropping out, but a committee substitute, offered by Chairman Grusendorf, was rewritten and hastily presented at the last minute to committee members.

“This is just another desperate move to push an unpopular idea that would harm Texas’ public schools,” said Samantha Smoot, Executive Director of the Texas Freedom Network, which advocates against vouchers.

This is the second time a voucher bill has passed through Chairman Grusendorf’s committee at a meeting held at his desk. On April 3, Grusendorf called an unplanned meeting and passed out his controversial voucher bill, H.B. 2465.

The Committee Substitute for S.B. 976 passed out on a 4-1 vote. Representative Bob Griggs voted against the bill. Three members of the House Public Education Committee were not present for the vote, including Vice Chairman Rene Oliveira and Representative Charles Dutton, as well as Scott Hochberg who is currently in Ardmore, OK.


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