Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has signed into law teacher raises and a sweeping overhaul of how the state pays to educate more than 5 million students in public schools.
Abbott on Tuesday called it a “monumental moment” while signing the bill at an Austin elementary school.
It comes near the end of an often rocky decade for Texas schools, which had absorbed steep budget cuts and saw the state’s school finance system declared flawed but constitutional in 2016.
Teacher salaries in Texas are currently about $7,000 below the national average, according to the National Education Association, but lawmakers who worked on the overhaul say veteran educators will see an average pay hike of roughly $4,000.
The revamp also pumps billions of additional dollars into Texas classrooms.
At the beginning of the legislative session, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick said he believed all teachers should get a raise from the state.
“I want to be equitable for everyone and you know, I hear this sometimes, well, every teacher isn’t the same, so why does everyone get the same raise? We gave every Child Protective Services worker a $12,000 raise, we didn’t ask who was the best, who was in the middle, who was the worst, we’ve given law enforcement across the board raises – we didn’t as who was the best, so I don’t know why we would do that to teachers? Teachers have not had a raise in over 20 years,” Lt. Gov. Patrick said in January.
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