On very short notice and with no formal hearing, House Public Education Committee Chairman Brad Buckley has reportedly scheduled a vote Wednesday on voucher-enabling legislation, a committee substitute for Senate Bill 8. The voucher portion of the legislation starts on page 50.
As of this writing, there is not even a House Public Education Committee meeting set for Wednesday. This is an extremely unorthodox approach to moving legislation through the Legislature, to say the least. There appear to be billions of dollars in sweeteners added in order to gain the necessary votes to move it out of committee and to lubricate its passage in the House.
The voucher program appears to be an Educational Savings Account (ESA) for special education students who are “economically disadvantaged,” or students who attend a “D” or below school.
The short-circuiting of normal House procedures creates an unsavory image of a back-room deal making and sets up a situation ripe for a point of order in the House.
The Quorum Report said the committee substitute “appears to be a mashup of various voucher proposals that have been floated so far. ‘It’s worse than the way it came out of the Senate,” said one longtime public school advocate.'”
This is a developing story.