Efforts to expand Teach Pay Hike expected

Members of the State Senate are scheduled to take up SB 3 on Monday.

The legislation authorizes a $5,000 pay hike for teachers. It's one of the five emergency items announced by Governor Greg Abbott during his State of the State Speech.

Its passage will be a big win - according to Senator Bryan Hughes ( R ) Mineola who is a co-sponsor of the bill.

"I bet it’s going to be the first is not one of the first Bills to pass the full senate, across the board pay raise. We recognize there are a lot of drivers in student success, but the two main one are involved parents and great teachers,” said Hughes.

The plan does not include money for support staff like librarians- library aids- and counselors. That's a concern for Senator Kirk Watson ( D ) Austin.

"We haven't seen a school finance bill yet, we need to see a school finance bill and we ought to, in order to do this thing right we should be looking at all aspects of the education of children, including librarians, including counselors and making sure we are providing the way ought to be,” said Watson.

Addressing that will mean floor amendments and possible floor fights come Monday according to Senator Royce West ( D ) Dallas.

"Personally do I want to see it happen, yes, but we have to set priorities in terms of who we provide a pay raise to, and the first, I guess you could say, line of defense is going to be the teachers,” said West.

The idea of adding more to the pay hike list is not totally out of the question for Senator Jane Nelson who wrote SB3.

"I’m running numbers on all of those other groups to see how much it would cost, we may at some point be able to add them in, but right now it was most important that our classroom teachers who are with those kids every single day see a significant pay increase,” said Nelson ( R) Flower Mound. 

Senator Nelson also expressed dismay by the push back SB 3 has gotten from some lobbying groups. Nelson said she thought the bill would be universally supported.