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Relating to additional funding to school districts for classroom teacher salaries.
Estimated Two-year Net Impact to General Revenue Related Funds for SB 3, Committee Report 1st House, Substituted: a negative impact of ($3,887,126,143) through the biennium ending August 31, 2021.
The bill would make no appropriation but could provide the legal basis for an appropriation of funds to implement the provisions of the bill.
SB 3 would entitle every full-time classroom teacher in Texas to an additional salary allotment of $5,000. This allotment will not affect district minimum payments towards teachers. Every full-time classroom teacher is entitled to a monthly salary that is equivalent to the sum of the district current salary schedule and $500. The bill would allow school districts to provide merit salary, and other, increases in addition to the $5,000 allotment. The district would provide written notice to each teacher that the salary allotment is from the state. The $5,000 awarded to every full-time classroom teacher will not affect rules for state aid such as credit against cost of attendance for school districts.
Texas Action remains neutral on SB 3, but recommends amending this bill out of concern for a number of issues. There is no denying that Texas teachers need a pay raise: they have not had a significant pay raise since 2009, and state average still lags behind the national average by about $2,300. However across-the-board pay raises have been used for years with little changing for education quality and teacher retention. Texas Action supports increasing teacher salary, but if the goal is to improve student outcomes, across-the-board raises are not the most effective way to do that.
As addressed by the committee substitute, the state's future TRS liabilities will drastically increase not only this biennium, but each future biennium, as districts hire more teachers. Pay increase should be used to increase teacher efficiency and classroom quality. In addition, the salary schedule tied to career longevity has proven inefficient for the state, the teachers, and the students. Texas Action emphasizes the importance of adopting and mandating local merit based pay in order to improve student outcomes.
Briefly, all taxpayer funds for public education should be appropriated to pay teachers based on their effectiveness, improve student results, and reduce recapture and property tax burdens.