Texas lawmakers could tackle school vouchers

Sharing tax funds among the ideas being proposed

Published On: Jan 31 2013 05:30:44 PM CST   Updated On: Jan 31 2013 05:36:53 PM CST

Texas lawmakers could tackle school vouchers yet again, possibly ending with public and private schools sharing tax funds, but at higher level per student.

Instead of $3,000, as proposed in the past, Brother Stanley Culotta, president of Holy Cross of San Antonio, said $8,000 could be split between private schools like his, and state-funded school districts.

“They have one less student. They keep 40 percent of that student’s funds and the student takes 60 percent with them,” Culotta said.

However, Brian Gottardy, superintendent of the Northeast Independent School District, said it would hurt public schools still reeling from the state’s last budget crisis that slashed education funding by $5.4 billion.

“We have lost $70 million over the last two years,” Gottardy said. “So the idea of losing additional revenue going to private schools or charters is just not something we can favor.”

But Culotta said by sending their children to a nonprofit, private school, the parents of his students see no benefit from their property taxes that fund public schools.

“They get no deductions. You have to pay tuition and you still have to pay taxes,” Culotta said.

He said it is a triple-whammy for families on limited incomes.

Culotta said 78 percent of his nearly 450 students receive financial assistance from fundraisers and donors.

Gottardy said he is waiting to see what is proposed in the Legislature over the next few months.

The superintendent of the Bexar County’s second largest school district said its board members recently adopted a resolution, opposing

vouchers, taxpayer savings grants and tax credits.

According to the resolution, “Diverting public money away from public schools could result in an inefficient use of scarce resources.”

Culotta said in observance of National School Choice Week, Holy Cross will host a rally at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at its convocation center on its campus at 426 N. San Felipe.