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Texas senators approve bill to give teachers, librarians $5K raises

The Texas Senate unanimously voted to approve a bill that would give all public and charter school teachers and librarians a $5,000 raise.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Senate voted 31-0 Monday to approve Senate Bill 3 (SB3) which would give all public and charter school teachers and librarians a state-funded $5,000 raise.

The original bill only included raises for teachers, but the author of the bill, State Senator Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), said she felt compelled to add an amendment to also offer it to librarians after hearing public testimony. Senator Nelson said the amendment added $53 million to the bill. Before, it was expected to cost the State $3.7 billion in its next two-year budget.  

If the bill is signed into law, the pay increase will be added to the educator's 2018-2019 salary and would remain in effect as long as they are with that school district. The only way it would be reversed is if a future legislature votes to end it.

While laying out her bill on the Senate floor, Senator Nelson said she realizes everyone who works with school children needs raises but they had to start with teachers.

"Nearly one in three new teachers hired in 2012 completely left the profession in five years," she said. "We have got to reverse that trend."

Nelson indicated there will be other bills filed to possibly increase pay even more in the coming days, including incentive-based raises and more money for retired teachers.

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick gave more details about those bills in a statement released after SB3 passed:

“I congratulate Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, and the Texas Senate for unanimously passing this critical legislation to provide a $5,000 across-the-board pay raise for Texas teachers. Our productive economy has given us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to accomplish school finance reform and the nearly $4 billion investment to increase teacher pay across-the-board is the first step in accomplishing that goal. Senate Bill 3, along with Senate Bill 4, school finance reform and Senate Bill 12, the Retired Teachers' Security Act, will help us recruit and retain the best teachers in our public schools, which is key to improving student outcomes.

“During my years on the Senate Education Committee, including as chairman in the 2013 session, before I became lieutenant governor, I reviewed a great deal of research on how to improve student outcomes in public schools. All the data points to the same thing — aside from a parent, nothing has more impact on the future success of a child than a teacher. I am very proud that Senate Bill 3 is the first bill the Texas Senate has passed this legislative session."

All 31 senators signed on to the bill to send the strong message that they support teachers. 

Next, the Senate will take a final procedural vote Tuesday and then the bill is off to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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