Democrats in Texas House of Representatives want $15,000 raise for teachers

The $15,000 pay raise is the latest proposal made by Texas Democrats to address the state’s teacher shortage. The goal is to retain more educators in the profession and potentially attract new ones to the field by giving them promotions across the board.

State Rep. James Talarico, D-Round Rock, said his bill would be the biggest teacher pay increase in the state’s history. “These are the bold actions that the moment calls for. And we can do it,” Talarico said.

“Keeping these surpluses while caregivers and children suffer is immoral. And it’s also bad business,” he added, referring to the predicted Texas. multibillion dollar surplus. “Any decent business person will tell you that you don’t hide your money under the mattress, you make it work by making smart investments. And the smartest investment we can make as a nation is investing in the next generation.”

Before becoming a legislator, Talarico taught sixth grade in San Antonio. He said his former colleagues used to ride Uber and sell their plasma to make ends meet.

“Now 40% of Texas teachers work part-time just to pay the bills,” Talrico said, quoting survey conducted by the Charles Butt Foundation. “It is not surprising that thousands of educators are leaving the profession. We have an urgent teacher shortage in this state, and the Texas Legislature is demanding urgent action.”

In 2021, Talarico filed a bill that would have required the minimum wage for teachers to be $70,000. It stalled in the committee.

Teacher salaries vary by school district. Current minimum wage for an aspiring teacher in Texas, $33,600. According to the Texas Education AgencyThe median salary for a teacher in the 2021-2022 school year was $58,887.

State Rep. Gina Hinojosa, D-Austin, said Texas doesn’t really have a shortage of teachers — it just doesn’t value them enough to keep them in the classroom. “Teachers exist. The teachers are here. They have decided to leave a profession that underestimates, underpays and underfunds their work,” she said.

It is not yet clear whether the bill will be considered by a Republican majority in the Legislative Assembly. House Speaker Dade Phelan declined The Texas Newsroom’s request for comment.

Initial state budget proposals filed last week indicate Republicans are open to more funding for public education. However, what form this increase will take is not yet clear.

“The Legislature intends to increase funding for school districts and charter schools,” the statement said. Texas House Budget Project.

Education advocates have called on the Legislature to increase this year’s so-called base amount, the minimum amount allocated per student. This would give teachers, nurses, librarians and consultants automatic pay raises.

As it stands, the state’s budget proposals have left the core appropriations unchanged.

Copyright 2023 CUT 90.5. To see more, visit KUT 90.5.

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