Senator files much-anticipated scholarship bill

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Associated Press

Posted on March 9, 2013 at 12:35 AM

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The head of the Texas Senate Education Committee has filed a highly anticipated bill offering business tax credits for donations helping poor children leave public schools for private ones.

Tea party-backed Sen. Dan Patrick has spent months clamoring for expanding "school choice" but waited until Friday — the last day to file bills this legislative session — to offer his proposal.

It allows firms to get up to a 15 percent state tax credit for donating to nonprofits who provide funding so low-income and at-risk children can leave traditional schools for private and religious alternatives.

Critics call it a voucher system, funneling money away from struggling public schools.

Patrick, a Houston Republican, says "voucher" is an outdated term.

House Speaker Joe Straus says any scholarship bill is unlikely to pass.

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