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Teachers association says pay still falls short as new report shows raises for Texas teachers

A new TEA report showed an average raise of $5,200 for teachers who have more than five years’ experience.

AUSTIN, Texas — A new report Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) released on Thursday has revealed the extent of pay raises for Texas teachers for the 2019-2020 academic year.

According to the report, Texas teachers statewide who have more than five years’ experience received an average pay raise of more than $,5200, while teachers who have been working up to five years received an average pay raise of more than $3,800.

The raises come as a result of the 2019 House Bill 3 (HB 3), a comprehensive school finance reform bill.

Abbott said the bill provided an increase of $2.7 billion in annual net funding for public education and school district budgets. It created an incentive pay program for teachers to be on a path to reach higher salaries, added career, college and military readiness bonuses for school districts, funded full-day prekindergarten for students in poverty and required all elementary school principals and teachers in kindergarten through third grade be trained on science-based reading instruction by 2021, the governor said.

"Thanks to the historic legislation we passed last session, Texas teachers are already seeing a significant increase in their pay," said Abbott. "When Texas students graduate, we want them to receive more than a diploma — but also the knowledge and skills they need to excel in college or a career. Thank you to Chairman Larry Taylor and Chairman Dan Huberty for leading the way on this critical issue, and thank you to Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, Speaker Dennis Bonnen, and members of the Legislature who supported this bill. Their work is delivering meaningful results for Texas students and teachers, and helping our state recruit and retain the very best educators. The State of Texas will continue to enhance our education system and provide a quality education for every Texas student, regardless of zip code."

But the Texas State Teachers Association said even with raises, teacher pay in Texas still falls short.

“We are glad that Texas teachers finally received long overdue pay raises from the Legislature in 2019,” said Texas State Teachers Association President Ovidia Molina. “The only reason it happened is because teachers and other school employees turned out in large numbers in the 2018 elections and unseated a dozen anti-education members from the Texas House and two from the state Senate and replaced them with education friendly legislators.”

Molina said the Legislature did not increase the State’s $75 monthly contribution to teacher health care premiums.

“That contribution hasn’t been increased in almost 20 years, while health care costs have soared and continue to erode educator take-home pay,” said Molina. “Even with the pay raises, which went into effect in the 2019-20 school year, the average teacher pay in Texas continues to lag well behind the national average, according to data compiled by the National Education Association, TSTA’s affiliate. NEA calculated the average pay increase for all Texas teachers last year at about $3,000, which is less than the state is reporting.”

The association said using the State’s salary figures, Texas teachers with more than five years’ experience are paid on average $4,300 less than the national average for all teachers.

"Instead of patting themselves on the back, our state leaders should be planning to add to those raises during next year’s session," said Molina.

A link to each local education agency's report to the Legislature can be found on the TEA website.

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