HOUSTON (FOX 26) - This week's panel: Jessica Colon - Republican strategist, Nyanza Davis Moore - Democratic Political Commentator Attorney, Bob Price – Associate Editor of Breitbart Texas, Antonio Diaz- writer, educator and radio host, Tomaro Bell – Super Neighborhood leader, Kathleen McKinley – conservative blogger talk about the pros and cons of the Texas Senate and House bills for funding education in the Lone Star State.
This week House Education Chairman Dan Huberty of Humble unveiled a comprehensive reform measure which would inject $9,000,000,000 unto the state's school districts.
Some local educators will begin their spring break in Austin. They plan to give lawmakers an earful regarding a couple of proposed bills. The Texas Senate unanimously approved a $5,000 pay raise for teachers, but some area educators say this bill isn't exactly what it should be.
The Senate Bill that would boost teachers' and librarians' pay by $5,000 isn't exactly being celebrated by all educators. The problem? Critics say the raises should include support staff at schools as well.
”It shouldn't be an either or. It should be all because it takes us all,” says retired HISD teacher Cheryl Anderson.
”Leaving them out is not something the teachers or the rest of us can agree is a bill we should support,” adds Zeph Capo with the Houston Teachers Federation. In addition to the senate school finance proposal, there's also House Bill 3 which would increase funding for each student in Texas by nearly $900.
”If you multiply that times our 200,000 kids, that's going to make a difference for HISD. That's going to help us lower our recapture number,” Capo explains.
However, the House bill would not set aside money specifically for raises. Instead, superintendents would decide who deserves bonuses based on performance.
“The real concern that we have is too much of the teacher pay money is based on merit pay, and none of it is guaranteed to directly go to the staff,” adds Capo.
“We're headed to Austin to let the legislature know we're serious about educational funding,” says Anderson.
“We have about 7 or 8 buses full of school employees going to Austin,” Capo explains. “And the other surrounding districts also have buses going,” adds Anderson.
According to the Houston Teachers Federation, Texas is on top of the list of the states spending less on public education. So, they hope to convince lawmakers to dedicate more money to school finance reform.