School choice supporters head to Austin for rally

- People who support using taxpayer money to pay for private and religious schools will take their cause to the state capitol Tuesday morning.

Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick will appear at a rally as the legislature prepares to debate the issue. Thousands of students, parents and teachers are also expected to attend.

The rally is all about supporting school choice and school vouchers. It’s a cause that’s been around for years, but this year supporters want lawmakers to finally allow taxpayer dollars for private school tuition.

Buses from several Dallas and Fort Worth private schools left for Austin Tuesday morning. About 120 sophomores from Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep boarded buses in Pleasant Grove.

“I’ve changed a lot since being here. Before I came here I never really thought about going to college or anything like that. But coming here has changed my outlook on everything,” said Emily Casanova, a student.

The school’s founding president said vouchers make sense as a way to improve overall education in the state of Texas.

“The money is to fund students to get an education so regardless of where that money goes as long as it goes to educating that student and giving them an opportunity to either go to college or vocational school, or whatever opportunity they really want to pursue, that’s where we should be spending our money,” said Kelby Woodard, Cristo Rey Dallas College Prep founding president.

There is still considerable opposition to the concept of school vouchers. Many in public education believe redirecting taxpayer dollars from public schools to private schools will ultimately hurt students in lower income areas.

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