PLANO, Texas — As the days wind down for the 88th Texas Legislature, State Rep. Mihaela Plesa (D-Plano) doesn’t see a future for school choice or education savings accounts, ESAs.
A signature priority for Republicans, the school choice plan continues to face heavy opposition from Democrats and rural Republicans, a coalition that has successfully defeated similar legislation in years past because they argue it weakens the state’s public school system because it steals funding from them.
“I do not see that we are going to move this bill in the House,” Rep. Plesa told us on Inside Texas Politics.
SB 8 would allow parents to use public money, ESAs, to move their kids into a private school of their choice, even religious ones.
But after the Texas Senate passed the bill and sent it to the House, the lower chamber made several changes to the legislation, including making far fewer students eligible for ESAs.
Gov. Greg Abbott has threatened to veto the House version of the bill and call lawmakers back for a special session.
Plesa tells us the state needs to fully fund our public schools, but these bills do the opposite.
And the Plano Democrat doesn’t see minds changing during a special session.
“These types of things, these ESAs, these vouchers, this is just another way for our state to defund public education and make, really, our taxes go up,” she said. “So, I’m against it. I know my constituency is against it.”
Plesa says she’s made no plans for her summer yet, so she’s ready to continue to fight against the school choice bill.
Her district sits just outside of the Allen Premium Outlets mall, where eight people were killed in a recent mass shooting.
So, the Democrat argues there are more pressing topics to consider during any special session.
“If we’re going to come back and have a special session, I think that we should have a special session on the things that are really affecting Texans," she said. "The number one killer of kids in our state is gun violence. And so, I would like to see us focus on things that really matter to our state and not continue to try to pass these voucher schemes.”
The legislative session ends May 29.