We are pleased to report that the budget bill signed by Gov. Abbott on June 20 will restore funding at long last for the program of tuition scholarships for educational aides who enroll in college courses to become teachers. This highly successful and effective program, whose budget was cut to zero in 2011, will receive an infusion of $1.5 million over the 2016-2017 biennium. Credit for getting the flow of state funding restarted for this program, strongly supported by Texas AFT since its inception in 1997, goes to Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin), a member of the House Appropriations Committee. House and Senate budget conferees deserve some credit, too, for keeping the money in the budget as Howard proposed.
Upcoming Hotline messages will provide further details on the tuition exemptions for educational aides and on many other pieces of education legislation that passed in the 2015 regular session. Be on the lookout also as back-to-school season nears for Texas AFT’s upcoming summary of notable 2015 bills.