East Texas superintendents gather to discuss school vouchers

Superintendent Roundtable discusses school vouchers
Published: Apr. 20, 2023 at 4:40 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 20, 2023 at 10:51 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Those who lead East Texas public schools are overwhelmingly against school vouchers or educational savings accounts. A plan being pushed by state leaders would allow parents to use taxpayer money to send their kids to private schools.

Today on East Texas Now, we hosted 11 East Texas superintendents for a conversation about a proposal that all of them are against. Area superintendents argue school choice already exists in East Texas and believe plans for school vouchers or educational savings accounts don’t equate to true parental choice.

East Texas superintendents gather to discuss school vouchers

Pine Tree ISD Superintendent Steve Clugston calls it segregation by economics.

“They talk about parental choice. It’s a farce. This whole thing. It’s not parental choice, because the parents don’t have a choice. Private schools decide where they want to take a kid or not,” Clugston said.

Christopher Moran, Whitehouse ISD added, “It doesn’t benefit all Texas kids. By the states that have already implemented vouchers or education savings accounts, what you see is a small percentage of people who take advantage of it is not going to help the people that really need it statewide.”

These school leaders also believe the rhetoric being pushed by those in favor of school vouchers or educational savings accounts just isn’t true when it comes to East Texas, and most of the state.

Cody Mize, Superintendent of Mineola ISD, said, “One of the issues that I do have is with some of the rhetoric that we’ve heard statewide, when there’s a conversation about ‘hey, there’s a there’s a woke ideology that’s being taught in our schools,’ or you know, there to making public school to be in a bad light. I can guarantee you that is not happening in Mineola ISD.”

Dr. Marty Crawford, Tyler ISD added, “When you start grabbing some of the things that are happening in Virginia or happening in Austin and trying to apply those here in Tyler or Longview and Whitehouse, I think it’s a bunch of demagoguery.”

And some of them say there may need to be change on the state level.

Stan Surratt, Superintendent of Lindale ISD, said, “We need to vote in some different legislators and representatives if they can’t support us properly and represent us properly. And even governor and lieutenant governor; these politics really needs to go because it’s hurting children across Texas.”