Special sessions are called by the Governor for specific issues:
- Property taxes: The Texas House and Senate have reportedly reached an agreement ( as of July 10), which is expected to pass later this week on how to cut property taxes, ending a long impasse
- The first special session ended with no new laws; legislators still deadlocked on property taxes
What TSHA Priorities Are Still in Play for a Special Session?
- Teacher pay raise legislation: TSHA attempted to specify speech-language pathologists and audiologists’ inclusion in any pay raise bill. Pay raises are not a specified topic (required) for the second special session. However, some legislators have proposed bills to include teacher pay raises in property tax legislation. Lawmakers didn’t approve extra money during the regular session this year to help schools balance their budgets or pay for raises, despite having a $32-billion surplus in revenue.
- School choice/vouchers legislation: A priority for the Governor and Lt. Governor.
- Not part of the second special session topic(s) and not eligible for legislation (this session).
- Will likely be an issue in future special sessions.
- No matter what an education voucher is called, the policy is the same. Vouchers divert public funds to private schools and vendors, and continue to undermine traditional public schools and charters, teachers, and students. There is a lack of public accountability with any voucher program, and with academic accountability of the schools that receive private voucher money.
- It doesn’t matter what vouchers are called. Whether it's educational savings accounts (ESAs), special education vouchers, virtual vouchers, or a “bracketed” voucher set-up to protect rural schools from the impacts of vouchers programs, the vouchers will have a long-term impact on Texas. Vouchers hurt public schools because they impact the funding traditional public schools and charter schools receive from the state.
- Special education vouchers can hurt students with disabilities by weakening rights given to them under IDEA federal regulations. When a parent enrolls their child with special needs in a private school, they waive those rights.
- Public dollars should remain in the public schools.
What Can I Do Now?
Contact your legislators (both Senator and Representative) and ask them to:
- Support teacher pay raise legislation and particularly to specifically include speech-language pathologists and audiologists.
- Oppose voucher legislation by any name.
Thank you for your help and support!
Your TSHA Legislative Team: Bobbie Kay, Larry, and Mark