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TEXAS SENATE ADDS $800 TEACHER PAY RAISE TO SCHOOL FINANCE BILL
May 27, 2009

"With tonight's amendment, we guarantee a direct pay raise to teachers, counselors and librarians. A motivated teacher in the classroom is the best way to guarantee a good education."

Written by Senator Eliot Shapleigh, www.shapleigh.org

AUSTIN - Today, the Texas Senate added an amendment to the state's school finance bill that would provide for an $800 dollar pay raise to Texas teachers. Senator Shapleigh voted in favor of the amendment.

H.B. 3646, the state's school finance bill which passed the Senate today, changes current law relating to public school finance. The bill describes how the approximately $35 billion set aside for public school operations in the state budget should be allocated.

An amendment to the bill offered by Senator John Whitmire (D- Houston) specifies that every teacher in the state receive a minimum $800 pay raise.

Before the amendment, H.B. 3646 contained enough funding for a pay raise, but did not specify how districts needed to distribute that money. The House version of the bill did contain a specific pay raise amount, but that was stripped from the bill before coming to the Senate floor. Without a specific dollar amount in the bill, school districts would not have been mandated to make sure every Texas teacher gets a raise.

"With tonight's amendment, we guarantee a direct pay raise to teachers, counselors and librarians. A motivated teacher in the classroom is the best way to guarantee a good education," Senator Shapleigh said.

Texas teachers' pay is currently more than $6,000 below the national average and 20 percent below pay for comparable jobs here in Texas. Texas ranks 49th in the nation in average teacher salary as a percentage of average annual pay.  Some 50,000 Texas classrooms lack an appropriately certified teacher for the subject taught.

With new federal stimulus money and H.B. 3646, El Paso school districts will receive the following additional amounts per student for weighted average daily attendance (WADA) in 2010:

School District

American Reinvestment and Recovery Act

Change in state revenue

per WADA

El Paso ISD

$499.52

$135.00

Socorro ISD

$286.37

$135.00

Ysleta ISD

$420.05

$350.00

Changes to H.B. 3646 will need to be agreed upon by both the House and Senate before it can be sent to the Governor and signed into law.

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