Yesterday afternoon at the Texas Capitol, Texas AFT staff briefed a full house of legislative staffers and several elected officials on the findings published by Texas AFT and a non-profit partner, Every Texan, in our research report The Lost Decade. Texas AFT Director of Public Affairs and Legislative Counsel Patty Quinzi and Every Texan Program Director of Economic Opportunity Chandra Kring Villanueva presented data from the report and answered questions from the audience.
Quinzi informed the staffers and officials that Texas teachers, on average, have seen a 4% drop in their salaries since the 2009-2010 school year, when taking into account inflation. Villanueva explained how HB 3, which was touted as a teacher pay raise, provided short-term salary increases but also provided long-term property tax rate reductions, which have ultimately led to an overall reduction in per-pupil funding, when accounting for inflation.
Quinzi and Villanueva emphasized the importance of raising the basic allotment, a baseline benchmark for how the state collects and distributes funding per student. The current basic allotment of $6,160 per-pupil was set back in 2019 and has not been adjusted for inflation. Due to COVID-19 and many other factors, the cost of educating students has risen significantly, while the basic allotment has remained stagnant. The state of Texas now ranks 45th in per-pupil spending. Each legislator’s office also received a bound copy of the report to have on hand.
The briefing also included a mention of Texas AFT’s Respect Pledge. Elected officials and candidates are encouraged to sign on to the respect pledge to show their commitment to public education.