- Associated Press - Thursday, April 27, 2017

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Texas Senate has approved public charter schools receiving state funding to cover facilities costs for the first time.

New Braunfels Republican Sen. Donna Campbell’s bill had mandated $400-plus million for charter schools’ building and facilities over two years.

But an amendment Thursday by Austin Democratic Sen. Kirk Watson reduced that to $100 million, with half going to traditional public schools.

The scaled-back measure passed 20-10, sending it to the House.

The Legislature authorized charters in 1995 and, in 2013, increased the number allowed statewide from 215 to 300-plus by 2019 - but stopped short of providing taxpayer funding for facilities then.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Texas’ top proponent of vouchers plans offering public funding to private schools, said in a statement that charters “can do more with less funding.”

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