Help Texas Students, Teachers and Taxpayers

Texas will save $3,429 for each student who accepts grant

By State Rep. Sid Miller

Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN, Texas – In the few days that remain in the 2011 Legislative Session, we have an opportunity to do something really great for Texas students, Texas teachers & Texas taxpayers. We can also help solve our states’ dire financial bind at the same time. We can do so by passing Taxpayer Savings Grants.

Taxpayer Savings Grants is a voluntary statewide program that allows parents to transfer their child from a public school to a private school and use a Taxpayer Savings Grant to pay the tuition.

The state of Texas will save an average of $3,429 for each student who voluntarily accepts the grant.

Researchers John Merrifield and Joseph Bast estimate Taxpayer Savings Grants will save Texas over $2 billion in the next two years. This projection is based on participation rates in similar choice programs across the country.

The E.G West Institute for Effective Schooling, and The Heartland Institute, recently published their report, “Budget Impact of the Texas Taxpayers’ Savings Grant Program,” and it can be found at

Students and parents unhappy with their local public school should have the right to choose another school that best fits their child’s educational needs. To be eligible for a Taxpayer Savings Grant, students must be residents of Texas, and currently attending a Texas public school or will enroll in kindergarten or 1st grade for the first time in the fall.

There is no income requirement meaning middle class families will be eligible.

Teachers will also benefit from school choice. Another Heartland Institute study released this week finds that competition in education would shift power from district administrators to school principals.

Individual schools would compete for teachers leading to higher teacher salaries and better working conditions. The study estimates that competition between schools in Houston could lead to pay raises of $12,000 for teachers.

We should put the $2 billion in savings from Taxpayer Savings Grants back into the public education budget. Doing so would actually increase school funding by $473 per student. That $473 would go a long way towards saving teachers jobs, preserving class size, and creating new teaching jobs in the private sector.

Good schools would see very little turnover, and rural schools would see almost none because very few private schools exist in rural towns. Most of the transfers would be in low-performing schools.

Taxpayer Savings Grants are a win-win for students, teachers and Texas taxpayers. They provide parents voluntary options in education, which benefits students, the state budget, the Texas economy and Texas taxpayers.

Please support Taxpayer Savings Grants now!

State Representative Sid Miller is in his 5th term serving District 59, where he works to put his experience as a small businessman, community leader, agriculturist, former schoolteacher & former school board member to work on behalf of the hardworking families of Comanche, Coryell, Erath, Hamilton, Somervell & Mills Counties. He is a two time recipient of the “Fighter for Free Enterprise” Award from the Texas Association of Business.