AUSTIN — Texans can benefit from the insights coming from the 20 tax credit scholarship programs which exist around the nation, the executive director of the Texas Catholic Conference testified to the state’s Senate Education Committee in Austin.
“We have the opportunity to develop a program that replicates the success in other states while avoiding some basic flaws in program design,” Jennifer Carr Allmon explained in.
While the Texas bishops are primarily concerned with the intellectual and moral formation of students, they also recognize that there are other benefits to the state if it were to implement a tax credit scholarship program for students in private schools. Independent entities have noted that the state would realize a net gain of $582 million to the Foundation School Fund. In 2008, the state of Florida announced it had a net savings of $38.9 million because of its tax credit scholarship program.
Students of lower-performing schools are more likely to pursue the tax credit scholarships. While those students directly benefit from attendance at private schools, their former schools are able to keep tax revenue, thereby able to invest more money per student. Associate Director of Public Policy, Michael Barba, detailed the school finance formulas which provide additional funding to districts when students transfer out.
In addition, Allmon offered five factors leading to successful implementation of a tax credit scholarship program, based on the experiences of other states. These include having one statewide scholarship granting organization, such as The Texas Private School Accreditation Commission, prioritizing students with greater academic and financial need, and recognizing the capacity and interest of private schools in Texas.