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November 19, 2021: Members save thousands erasing student loan debt; Locals in high gear with vaccine clinics; Vote in HISD race

Children wearing face masks choose books from a Socorro A-F-T table at a vaccine clinic.

The Hotline will take a break next week for the Thanksgiving holiday and will return on December 3. Local unions kick into high gear with campaigns urging vaccinations at free clinics Texas AFT local unions have been holding dozens of free COVID-19 and flu vaccination clinics the past month, and with shots allowable expanding to aged 5-12 students, they are...

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Senate Ed Committee Chair Larry Taylor is bowing out

Larry Taylor sitting in chair seat in committee

Sen. Larry Taylor Longtime Senate Education Committee Chair Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood) announced this week that he will not be running for reelection. Taylor, who took the District 11 seat in 2012 after serving five terms in the House, has been a key legislator shepherding unsuccessful attempts to create private-school voucher...

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Proposal aims to reduce scrutiny of school-district tax breaks for companies

Red bar graph showing tax abatements going from 2.4 billion in 2012 to $10.8 billion in 2020

Houston Chronicle graphic Every Texan, a nonprofit policy research organization, has uncovered a proposal that would drastically reduce the ability to assess the financial impacts of companies that get large school-district tax breaks.  The tax breaks—formally called Chapter 313 school property tax abatements—are intended to spur employers to provide economic...

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New appointments made to Sunset Advisory Commission

Sunset Commission seal with star and plant laurels

On November 22, House Speaker Dade Phelan unveiled his appointments to the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission following Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s announcement of his appointments on September 21. The appointment of State Rep. Keith Bell (R-Forney) is of note. As a veteran member of the House Public Education Committee, Rep....

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What We’re Grateful For This Year

Illustrated hand raising a flag with text that says, "13th check for retired educators."

2021 has been a profoundly difficult year, on every front. But there have been bright spots. From the start of November through Thanksgiving, we have highlighted on social media some of the incredible work of our members and our union that we're grateful for this year. Here are the wins...

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Local union member testifies at nation’s Capitol on special education funding

Melina sitting in an office chair holding yellow roses and smiling

Melina Espiritu-Azocar Northside AFT’s Melina Espiritu-Azocar traveled to Washington DC on Tuesday to testify on how historic underfunding of the the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has impacted students with disabilities. Espiritu-Azocar joined several other organizations to promote “Fulfill the Promise,” an initiative to fully fund IDEA and ensure...

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San Antonio locals win innovation grants for cultural curriculum

young boy and young girl examine a water-bottle windmill. Text: Return, Recover, Reimagine

The San Antonio Alliance and Northside AFT have won grants from AFT’s third round of Innovation Grants. The grants, intended to help local unions “Return, Recover, and Reimagine,” totaled $200,000 nationwide in this round, with more than $1 million invested since the start of the pandemic. Northside AFT’s grant will...

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Important Houston ISD School Board runoff needs your vote!

Red background with white dots and large white circle with text: It's the most wonderful time of the year to become a 2021 voter!

Voters believe pay for teachers and support staff are a key issue in upcoming Houston school board runoffs. Educators have the chance to support three candidates that have ALWAYS stood up for increasing school employee salaries.  The best Holidays gift you can give yourself this year is to vote for...

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AFT settlement on student loans leads to big results for members

AFT Logo, ghosted image of woman (Jeri) with text: Because of AFT's P-S-L-F settlement, Jeri's life changed in an instant

After AFT settled its lawsuit over the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSFL) program, members started seeing big results in their efforts to erase student loan debt. AFT member Jeri O’Bryan said she was able to wipe away $73,000 in loan debt with the program. "There’s a huge weight coming off...

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