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The Brief: Texas Senate advances school choice bill

The Texas Senate voted 18-13 on Thursday to pass the major school choice bill this legislative session. Here's what you need to know.

State Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, discusses a bill amendment in the Senate on March 30, 2017. 

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What you need to know

The Texas Senate voted 18-13 on Thursday to pass the major school choice bill this legislative session. Here's what you need to know

  • SB 3 creates two public programs subsidizing private school tuition and homeschooling expenses in the state. The bill, authored by state Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, establishes an education savings account, which would allow parents access to public funds to pay for private school tuition, and a tax credit scholarship program, which would allow businesses to credit insurance premiums in exchange for donations approved to scholarship organizations.
  • How much would SB 3 cost the state? The Legislative Budget Board estimated previous versions of SB 3 would cost Texas between $90 and $330 million. The Center for Public Policy Priorities, released its own fiscal analysis, saying the bill would cost the state's public school system more than $500 million per year. 

  • The bill is on its way to the House, where House Public Education Committee chairman Dan Huberty, R-Houston, has previously said the measure will die

To get more education news in your inbox, subscribe to Trib+Edu: Your guide to state and regional education policy news and events.

What we're reading

(Links below lead to outside websites; paywall content noted with $) 

I'll back Texas independence, EU's Juncker warns TrumpCNN

Judge sides with Port Aransas residents, halts barge facility in 'environmentally sensitive' area, Texas Observer 

State panel approves $115 million for Waco I-35 project, set to begin in 2019Waco Tribune-Herald

UNT professor files discrimination lawsuitDenton Record-Chronicle 

Houston immigrant doctors given 24 hours to leave the U.S., then a reprieve, The Houston Chronicle ($)

Ben Carson makes housing pitch in Dallas, The Dallas Morning News ($)

For your calendar 

Next Tuesday, April 4, The Texas Tribune will talk about legislative issues with experienced community organizers at the W Austin Records Room. The event is part of the Tribune's On the Record series, geared towards helping Texans be better, smarter citizens. 

Quote to note

"After all, PVAMU, a historical black university (HBU), would have been the ideal environment in which to prove the moral bankruptcy of apartheid: a place with thousands of black students, many of them descendants of slaves, pursuing the American Dream. That experience taught me the importance of ideas and trusting your gut."

— State Rep. James White, R-Hillister, about historically black universities in Texas via TribTalk

The Brief is written and compiled by your morning news baristas, Bobby Blanchard and Cassi Pollock. If you have feedback or questions, please email thebrief@texastribune.org. We're a nonprofit newsroom, and count on readers like you to help power newsletters like this. Did you like what you read today? Show your appreciation by becoming a member or making a donation today.

Disclosure: The Center for Public Policy Priorities has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here. 

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