The House Appropriations Committee held its first meeting Tuesday, hearing from the Comptroller and other state officials about the current status of state revenues and expenditures. Commissioner Mike Morath appeared before the committee to discuss the rider in the current version of the budget that refers generally to teacher salaries and other public school expenditures, though without a specific plan.
Rider 82 is the section of the TEA budget that is expected to be used to increase school funding. Morath discussed the need to address the teacher workforce crisis, and said that the work of the Teacher Vacancy Task Force made clear that the top concerns related by teachers are pay and working conditions (including discipline and lack of work/life balance).
Morath noted that the approximate cost of a teacher pay raise is $400 million for each $1,000. For example, a $10,000 salary increase would cost roughly $4 billion. One committee member noted that the difference between beginning and veteran teacher pay is compressed, and asked the commissioner if increasing pay for experienced teachers in particular had been discussed. Morath said yes, and agreed that the rate of salary growth for teachers throughout their career is very slow compared to other professions; he pointed to the Teacher Incentive Allotment program (incentive pay) as a fundamental solution to this problem.
The charts accompanying this presentation show that TEA predicts around 60% of districts participating in TIA by the 2025-26 school year, but the number of teachers estimated to receive a designation and be eligible for a stipend (depending on how their district structures the local program) is about 38,000 – roughly 10% of all teachers. TCTA continues to point out the need for a significant salary boost for the entire profession rather than relying on a program designed to benefit only a fraction of teachers.