The Battle of Tax Cuts, Vouchers, and School Funding: A Tale of the 88th Texas Legislative Session

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The Legislature is obligated by the state constitution to fund our public education system. Currently, 5.5 million Texas children rely on the Legislature to ensure schools have the resources to prepare them to be informed citizens, join the workforce, and achieve the social mobility necessary to keep Texas prosperous. 

Texans in every corner of the state, from Amarillo to Brownsville, benefit from public education. Schools are the centers of our communities. Researchers find higher rates of community satisfaction in areas with quality public schools, even among residents without children. As community institutions, in addition to educational institutions, public schools build networks of engaged community members. This phenomenon is not seen in private schools, as they do not draw from the local community.

When 62% of Texas students are economically disadvantaged, it is especially important that the Legislature invests in strong public education for all children so that a zip code does not determine a child’s opportunities. Connecting people of different backgrounds and experiences is paramount for building a cohesive and compassionate society, and our public schools are a celebration of Texas’ diversity and changing demographics. In the 2023-24 school year, 53% students are Hispanic, 25% white, 13% Black, and 5% are Asian – all are Texan.

The Legislature started the 2023 session with a record $32.7 billion cash on hand, plus billions more in the state’s rainy-day fund. Rather than make long-overdue investments in public education, Gov. Abbott held our public schools hostage instead in his failed attempt to create private school vouchers.

Read the full white paper as a PDF

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