AUSTIN, Texas — Today, Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa sent a memorandum to all Texas Democratic County Party Chairs, Precinct Chairs, SDEC and DNC Members, and other Democratic activists asking them to contact their Democratic lawmakers and urge they hold the line against Republicans’ school voucher scheme.
In the memo, Chairman Hinojosa notes how, with this new, ‘slimmed-down’ version of Senate Bill (S.B.) 8, “House Republicans will attempt to make backroom deals to peel off Members from our Caucus” – and how we must make it clear to our lawmakers that S.B. 8 remains “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
He also highlights the devastating impacts that Republicans’ voucher scheme would have on retired Texas teachers, writing that “Vouchers will divert billions of dollars to pay private school teachers who do not pay into the Teacher Retirement System (TRS). There will never again be a cost of living increase or a 13th check for retired teachers if this voucher bill passes.”
Chairman Hinojosa goes on to write that our state’s decaying public education system is “a manufactured crisis to decimate public education and boost private Christian schools – and we as Democrats will play no part, however small it may be, in the systemic hollowing of our children’s futures.”
Click here or see below for the full memo from the Chairman to Texas Democrats:
TO: Texas Democratic County Party Chairs, Texas Democratic Precinct Chairs, Texas SDEC/DNC Members, and Interested Parties
FROM: Gilberto Hinojosa, Chairman, Texas Democratic Party
DATE: May 11, 2023
RE: CALL TO ACTION: Holding the line against Republicans’ school voucher scheme
Fellow Texas Democrats,
Republicans are trying to tear us apart – and we will not let them.
Their newest iteration of Senate Bill (S.B.) 8 – Greg Abbott’s and Texas Republicans’ school voucher scheme – is being sold to House Democrats as a “slimmed down” version of their original plan to defund our state’s entire public education system – but, you must understand, this bill is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. This remains a giant voucher bill that will cover most Texas school children.
In the coming days, House Republicans will attempt to make backroom deals to peel off Members from our Caucus. They will try to sell this bill as one that helps minority students and students in low-performing schools. These are lies – and we need to be sure our Members know where we, the Democrats of Texas, stand.
Abbott’s voucher scheme will apply to virtually every school district in Texas. Republicans are lying when they say it will only apply to a select few districts. When Republicans say they support our retired teachers – they lie, because they cannot support retired teachers and SB 8 at the same time. Vouchers will divert billions of dollars to pay private school teachers who do not pay into the Teacher Retirement System (TRS). There will never again be a cost of living increase or a 13th check for retired teachers if this voucher bill passes.
And we sit here and wonder why we have a teacher shortage? We wonder why some of our state’s largest public school districts are scraping by? We wonder why rural school districts are dropping to just four days a week?
No. This is a manufactured crisis to decimate public education and boost private Christian schools – and we as Democrats will play no part, however small it may be, in the systemic hollowing of our children’s futures.
Over the coming days, as Republicans try to ram S.B. 8 through the House, we need each of you to make it known to your Democratic lawmakers exactly where we stand on the issue of school vouchers: we refuse to accept one penny of cuts to our public education system. End of sentence.
Passing a voucher bill that would decrease funding to public schools would be devastating for the children in the districts of our legislators – and it is incumbent on us to make sure they understand that reality.
Visit txdem.co/CallYourReps and call your representative, urging them to vote NO on S.B. 8.
Chair, Texas Democratic Party