The Texas Senate moved Wednesday to ban state officials from ever again imposing a cap on the percentage of students allowed to receive special education services.
The chamber voted unanimously in favor of Senate Bill 160, putting the legislation just one step away from the desk of Gov. Greg Abbott, who already has indicated his support of the measure.
That last step, a vote on the floor of the Texas House, is expected to take place soon.
The legislation was filed in response to “Denied,” a 2016 Houston Chronicle investigation that exposed the state’s decade-old cap and revealed that it had denied services like tutoring and therapy to tens of thousands of children with disabilities.
As a result of the arbitrary 2004 policy, which the Texas Education Agency enacted while facing a $1.1 billion state budget cut and without notifying lawmakers, federal officials or the public, Texas now provides special education services to the lowest percentage of any state in the country – by far.
Now, with the Senate passage of Senate Bill 160, the state might be able to erase that ugly distinction, according to the proposal’s sponsor, Senate Minority Leader Jose Rodriguez, D-El Paso.
See here for previous blogging on the topic. The Senate hasn’t done much to commend this session, but this one they got right. Let’s get it passed in the House and signed into law.