No guaranteed raises for Texas teachers in House budget proposal
AUSTIN, Texas - A proposed budget expected to be voted on in the Texas House of Representatives this week does not include a pay raise for teachers in the state.
The American Federation of Teachers has asked for a minimum $10,000 per teacher pay raise, raises for support staff and more.
The union says teacher salaries in both big and small districts makes it difficult to find teachers for their students.
"We don't have a lack of teachers, we have a lack of people who are tired of being disrespected and are choosing not to go back to the classroom," said Rena Honea, the president of Alliance AFT.
The proposed budget does not include a pay raise for teachers other than what is tied to an increase in dollars allotted to student learning. The House proposal sets that at a $50 increase per student.
READ MORE: Bill discussed that would give Texas teachers $2K or $4K raises, short of what they are asking for
"At $50 per student that would only be about $455 dollars for each teacher," said Honea.
There are two bills filed by State Representatives that call for increasing teacher pay by $10,000 or $15,000 per teacher, and includes pay raises for support staff, but they've not been set for a hearing.
"Those are the only ones right now, that we are aware of, that address part of the problem for the lack of teachers being in our schools," said Honea.
The Senate Education committee says all the state can do is a $2,000 increase for all teachers, and $4,000 for those currently making below the state average.
"I think teachers will get a pay raise because they haven't had one since 2019, but it's certainly not going to be near the upper-end of the scale that Democrats are looking at," said SMU political science professor Cal Jillson,"[The raises] are much more likely down where the Republicans are talking about in the few thousand dollar range."
The state does have a $32.7 billion surplus. Teachers say public school needs to get its fair share.
"I do think that in this session, because of the extra money, both teachers and schools will get increases, but we can't tell how much of an increase at this point because that's fought out a month from now," said Jillson.
"Our lawmakers have to pay attention to what they're hearing from the actual people doing the work," said Honea.
The House of Representatives scheduled to debate its budget Thursday.
Texas AFT will host an emergency meeting for educators and allies Wednesday at 6 p.m. ahead of the debate.
The meeting will be held live on the union's Facebook page.