House subcommittee makes early determination on spending… | TCTA
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House subcommittee makes early determination on spending levels, approves health insurance assistance

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The subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee that is considering funding issues for education-related entities (including both TEA and TRS) met Wednesday to vote on decisions that will be forwarded to the full Appropriations Committee, with full committee consideration expected later this week. Among those are a rider for $5 billion for public education. Details of how the $5 billion will be spent will depend on passage of separate legislation, but will address these goals: teacher compensation and benefits, the Teacher Incentive Allotment, the basic allotment, school safety, curriculum and instructional materials, and special education.

Unless additional funding is included elsewhere, this amount is not sufficient to fund a significant across-the-board teacher pay raise. As an example, the cost of a $10,000 pay raise for teachers, counselors, nurses and librarians is estimated to cost more than $7 billion for the two-year period covered by the budget, and that amount does not include additional raises for other nonadministrative employees.

The subcommittee has approved $3.5 billion to pay for retiree benefit increases, including a $5,000 one-time check for retirees who are 70 or older, and a cost-of-living adjustment ranging from 2-6%. The funding also includes an increase in the state's contribution to the pension fund (active employees would also be required to increase their contributions). Click here for more details of the proposal, which is included in HB 600.

The committee also approved $875 million for TRS ActiveCare to help control anticipated health insurance premium increases.