Fort Worth, Texas – Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was in Fort Worth on Wednesday where he signed the illegal street racing bill into law. This was great opportunity for the media to ask Gov. Abbott about the teachers pay. According to Abbott, he backs pay raises for Texas teachers.
“Yes, I am fully committed to putting forth legislation that will even add more to teacher pay raises in the State of Texas, and that may be one of the items that will be on the next special session agenda,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said according to CBS News Texas.
During the news conference and bill-signing event related to new legislation focused on controlling the growing problem of illegal street racing, the Governor of Texas discussed several critical concerns pertaining to the state’s education system.
Not only did this occasion highlight the urgent issue of street regulation, but it also brought attention to matters such as teacher pay, public education funding, and the innovative concept of education savings accounts (ESAs).
Teachers pay expected to be discussed again in the third special legislative session this autumn
In a response to CBS News Texas, the Governor clarified that the topic of teacher salary increases might indeed be an essential point of discussion in the expected third special legislative session this autumn. Earlier this year, the regular legislative session ended without approval of the proposed pay raises for teachers, causing noticeable dismay among education employees throughout the state.
Adding another layer to this scenario, significant political leaders like House Speaker Dade Phelan and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick have publicly expressed their support for teacher pay raises. This bipartisan backing aligns with a designated $5 billion in the state budget for public education, with a large portion anticipated to be directed towards the disputed salary enhancements.
Gov. Abbott says that public school funding reached all-time high in Texas
Furthermore, the Governor pointed out that public school funding and per-student financial allocations have reached an all-time high in Texas. Hinting at a broader shift in educational policy, he encouraged lawmakers to establish taxpayer-funded ESAs, thus providing some students with the chance to attend private education. This bold suggestion, however, faced challenges during the regular session when efforts to combine teacher pay raises with the ESAs were stymied in the House.
Upon being questioned about the potential for separate legislation pertaining to teacher pay raises and ESAs, the Governor’s response was circumspect, stating, “All of the nuances of that will come out at the time the agenda is issued.”
Some Texas lawmakers weigh that teachers pay increase responsibility falls on school boards
Following these legislative activities, teachers and other educational professionals have publicly voiced their discontent with the failure of the state legislature to approve pay increases. This has ignited a conversation on accountability, leading some school districts to take the initiative to raise teacher salaries independently. Meanwhile, certain lawmakers argue that the responsibility falls on school boards, not the state government.
Recently, Arlington ISD announced increased pay for employees within the district, several months after announcing teachers pay raise for fourth consecutive year.
As Texas’s political climate continues to change, the exact timing of the anticipated third special legislative session remains uncertain. It is, however, known to be scheduled after the Senate impeachment trial of suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton, set to begin on September 5—a procedure that may extend over several weeks.
The intertwined themes of education reform, legislative complexity, and bipartisan cooperation have become key features of this ongoing story. These elements collectively shine a light on the diverse challenges and opportunities that the future holds for the state of Texas.