The Texas House approved a $9 billion funding bill that would give all school employees a pay raise and increase funding for students.
Only one member of the House voted against Texas House Bill 3, which is now a step closer to the governor's desk as it heads to the State Senate.
One of the pieces of that bill basically tells the districts that if the state gives them an increase in funding, then the districts are mandated to pass on at least 25 percent of the increase to their employees in the form of raises. With this latest increase, that could shake out to being about an $1,800 raise for those school employees, and that would not include administrators.
The bill would put about $6 billion into the schools. That breaks down to an additional $890 spent to educate each child. It also provides about $3 billion in property tax relief. The bill aims to increase salaries and money for programs like Pre-K, special needs and vocational and technical training.
House Bill 3 also lowers the amount of so-called “Robin Hood payments”. Those are the payments wealthier school districts have been paying to the state to help put money into the districts with lower property tax revenue. Lawmakers say by requiring those districts to put at least a quarter of their increases into employee raises it would guarantee raises down the road instead of just a one-time bump.
We spoke to parents outside Poe Elementary. Everyone was overwhelmingly on board with paying more to teachers as well as increasing public school funding. One woman was concerned it sounds too good to be true.
“I don't think that's really going to work out. I don't see how. I think we're left to raise property taxes or income taxes, heaven forbid. No one in Texas is going to go for that,” she said.
State lawmakers say they're figuring some way out to make sure all of those things do happen.
The bill now goes to the Senate. The Senate has been working on education funding bills. They did pass SB 3, which would give a broad stroke $5,000 raise to teachers only.