The Senate Education Committee heard SB 9, a teacher workforce bill with a number of provisions suggested by the Teacher Vacancy Task Force.
The bill includes a $2,000 pay raise for classroom teachers, increasing to $6,000 for teachers in districts with enrollment of under 20,000. TCTA appreciates the mechanism that SB 9 uses to provide an across-the-board salary increase, as there are other salary proposals that do not guarantee a pay raise. But the proposal does not go nearly far enough, as the amount is far too low and the increase only applies to classroom teachers. TCTA will continue to fight for a more significant raise and expansion of the increase to other professional and support personnel, and we encourage our members to contact their legislators about this need.
In the afternoon, the committee took up several bills creating voucher programs, generally in the form of “education savings accounts.” The hearing came after a sparsely-attended pro-voucher rally at the Capitol Tuesday, and a legal opinion issued by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Monday determining that education savings accounts are not in violation of the Texas Constitution. Hundreds of people registered positions on SB 8, and as this update was written Wednesday evening the committee appeared poised to meet late into the night. TCTA opposes any form of vouchers as such proposals divert attention and resources from the public school system and provide state funding to private schools with virtually no state accountability.
Despite widespread opposition, SB 8 is expected to pass easily through the committee and the full Senate.