With a $33 billion budget surplus going into the current parliamentary session, exams may leave without providing enough financing for public schools to support a sizeable teacher pay hike, let alone the rising cost of inflation.
A large coalition of education organizations, including the Texas PTA, the four largest teacher unions, and the nonpartisan Just Fund It TX, expressed concern on Tuesday that the state would incur costs as a result of the House budget’s modest increases to the per-pupil funding allotment and lack of teacher pay increases.
“We cannot afford to nickel and dime the future of the 5.4 million children in Texas public schools and expect those children to thrive,” said Texas PTA President-Elect Jennifer Easley. “We cannot afford to nickel and dime the future and expect to stop the teacher shortage crisis.”
The Basic Funding Allocation
The per-pupil basic allowance would need to increase by $1,000 at the very least to keep up with inflation, according to Easley, in order to maintain school budgets. Moreover, the allocation must be automatically adjusted for the cost of living. The baseline per-pupil allotment is now decided by politicians each legislative session, which opponents claim finances schools based on available revenue rather than essential costs.
Members of the House went into the current parliamentary session believing that teachers would receive a sizable salary hike. Texas teachers would receive a $15,000 boost, bringing their salaries closer to the national average, according to Rep. James Talarico, a Democrat from Round Rock. You must know about Texas House Measure Revamps Economic Development Tool.
The basic funding allocation for each student will be increased by $50 as the legislative session begins its third month, and there will be no salary increases for House educators. The ultimate sum for a possible increase in teacher compensation in the Senate would be $2,000.
The idea that more money needed to be put into the system doesn’t seem to alarm Senate members as much as halting the recapture of funds from school districts with large amounts of real estate. The notion that school districts like Pflugerville ISD have had to consider closing schools due to budget constraints hasn’t either struck a chord with the legislators.
“We recognize that the legislature has put forth efforts both in recent sessions and this session to increase the percentage of funding that the state would provide for an education,” said Monty Exter of the Association for Texas Professional Educators. “But a higher percentage of an inadequate amount is still an inadequate amount. And that’s what we’re faced with right now.”
This session, public education has received an additional $5 billion from both budgets. The issue, according to Exter, is that the $5 billion is anticipated to pay for all the education-related legislation that politicians want to adopt. Many of the upcoming proposals come with hefty price tags, including improvements to school safety, more precise special education funding methods, and a new curriculum system designed to align with Texas academic requirements.
ATPE tweeted that the state’s historic budget surplus increased funding. Watch here:
Simply Fund It To keep up with inflation and the academic assistance measures included in House Bill 3 that were passed in 2019, Texas predicted that the state would need to invest an extra $14 billion in public education. It would be beneficial to increase the per-pupil basic allotment by $1,000. You can read related the Texas Rent Relief Meets 10% Of Demands Due To Financial Shortages.
“We believe that every single student in the state of Texas deserves to have better funding than we are getting now, which is 48th in the country,” said Laura Yeager of Just Fund It Texas. “Only two states fund education less per student than Texas. We are $4,000 behind the national average per-student funding, and we think Texas kids deserve better, and we have the money to do better for them.”
Texas was ranked 44th in terms of spending and 39th in terms of funding nationally in 2022 by the Education Data Initiative. 3.8% of taxpayer income—the sum of local and state taxes—goes to support public education.