Next Week in the Legislature: Bills to Watch

The following bills will be considered in committee or on the floor next week. We’ll be updating our online bill tracker as key bills make their way through the process. 

Texas House Floor: Thursday April 6

HB 1: The Texas House will vote on its version of the state budget this Thursday. The budget debate will likely go late in the evening. Currently, the House budget does not provide adequate funding for public education to fully fund public schools

Without the necessary funding, schools will not be able to implement our Respect Agenda. Educators will not receive the across-the-board pay raises they deserve, and the school staffing crisis will intensify. The current budget would provide certified educators with just a $2,000 raise, and it provides no guaranteed pay raise for support staff.

This budget is unacceptable, and we have to act fast to fix it. We need everyone to take action and call their representative.  Demand that they fully fund public education and deliver the minimum raise you’re owed: $10,000 for teachers and certified staff and 15% for support staff. 

Click here to call your representative now.

This Wednesday, the night before the budget will be considered on the House floor, Texas AFT is hosting a Facebook Live event to provide a full update on the state budget. On that call, we will take action together and make our voices heard on this unacceptable budget before it’s too late. RSVP and put it on your calendar

House Public Education Committee: Tuesday, April 4 at 8 a.m.

The committee will meet to hear two teacher salary bills that would have dramatic implications for educators and public education funding. Both include some positive and negative provisions.

HB 11 is the House’s omnibus teacher bill this session. HB 11 would amend the minimum salary schedule so that state minimums would be based on groups of years, not on a person’s individual years of experience. It would also add a separate, lower minimum salary schedule for non-certified educators and a higher minimum salary schedule for educators with a residency certificate or a special designation. 

Helpfully, HB 11 would also provide a fund to partially compensate districts for rehiring retired educators. Currently, districts have to pay a significant TRS surcharge to rehire retired educators. 

One significant negative aspect of HB 11 is that it would remove the SBOE’s authority to reject rules proposed by the State Board of Educator Certification (SBEC), a body that is unelected and made up primarily of gubernatorial appointees. Not only would this take a significant amount of power out of the hands of the democratically elected SBOE, it would pave the way for TEA to push through a new, problematic educator certification assessment, which was unanimously vetoed by the SBOE last year after gaining approval from SBEC with TEA support. 

HB 100 is the House’s school finance omnibus bill this session. This bill would move Texas away from funding schools based on attendance and would instead fund them based on enrollment,a much more accurate funding model. 

However, HB 100 would provide only a slight increase to the basic allotment, the state’s foundational contribution to per-student funding, of just $50 per student. The basic allotment has been set at $6,160 since 2019. If the basic allotment had kept up with inflation since 2019, it would be $7,325 today, more than $1,000 greater than where it is today.