A bill aimed at giving Texas teachers a pay raise passed in the House today, but faces challenges in the Senate.
If passed and signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott, House Bill 3 would mean a $5,000 across the board pay raise for Texas public school teachers over the next two years.
Governor Abbott has previously declared teacher compensation an emergency issue for this legislative session and in a statement released today said:
“Texans are demanding meaningful reforms to our school finance system, and today’s passage of HB 3 in the House is a vital step toward that goal. By reducing recapture, investing more money in our schools and in our teachers, the Legislature is making changes that will have a lasting impact on our education system, and more importantly, our students. I applaud Chairman Huberty and Speaker Bonnen for their work to pass this bill, and I look forward to working with Senator Taylor, Lt. Governor Patrick, and the entire Legislature to ensure the final passage of school finance reform this session.”
However, even with the raise, Texas teachers would still be $2,300 behind the national average, according to the National Education Association.
Legislators are debating the $9 billion bill and are looking to boost funding per student. Some districts have said that they would prefer more flexibility in how to use the additional funding, rather than an across the board pay raise.
Lawmakers have also promised to cut property taxes this session and are struggling to balance that cut while increasing classroom funding.
Public schools rely heavily on funding from property taxes, and similar issues sank a 2017 school finance bill. Despite support from both parties, getting the votes to pass the bill through the Texas Senate is a challenge lawmakers will face in the coming days.