Texas House Passes Legislation Providing Education Grants to Special Needs Students

The Texas House of Representatives has formally passed Senate Bill 1716, which extends and expands the Supplemental Special Education Services (SSES) program which provides families of children with special needs $1,500 grants to purchase services providing additional education support. The SSES program was created during the COVID-19 pandemic for children that were dramatically cut off from essential therapies and interventions because of school closures. The bill, which was sponsored by Representative Greg Bonnen (R-Galveston) in the House, is one of Texas Federation for Children’s (TFC) priorities this legislative session and passed by a 116-26 bipartisan margin.

“Thanks to the Texas House of Representatives, special needs families throughout Texas will now have access to the educational tools they need to succeed,” said TFC State Director, Mandy Drogin. “A priority of TFC’s, this legislation will have a dramatic impact on families all throughout the state. We are grateful to Representative Bonnen and Chairman Harold Dutton for shepherding this through the legislative process and will continue to work with them, as well as all elected leaders in the state, to expand choice for Texas students.”

The Texas Federation for Children also saw the passage of another priority: Senate Bill 1955. This bill, authored by Senator Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood), protects learning pods from burdensome regulation by local governments. A growing number of families have responded to their frustrations with their local school districts by gathering their children together in learning pods and hiring teachers or tutors to assist with educating them.