Viral Newz

Lawmaker proposing biggest teacher pay raise in Texas history


AUSTIN (KXAN) State Representative James Talarico is bringing forth a plan to give teachers in Texas the largest pay raise in state history.

With an average salary around $58,000 according to the National Center for Educational Statistics Texas teacher salaries currently rank in the bottom 10 states across the country.

Rep. Talarico’s bill would also address pay for support staff in schools — such as nurses, cafeteria workers, counselors and bus drivers. The average K-12 support staff salary in Texas is $29,067.

Talarico will hold a press conference Tuesday morning with several speakers at the Texas Capitol. This will include Chairman Martinez Fischer, Rep. Hinojosa, Rep. Bernal, Rep. Meza, along with teachers and public education groups from across the state.

“Raising teacher pay is the single best educational investment we can make as a state and would provide true property tax relief,” Talarico said.

According to the Economic Policy Institute — a nonprofit that examines at economic data — when adjusted for inflation, the average weekly pay of public-school teachers in the U.S. only rose $29 from 1996 to 2021.

During that same period, other college graduates experienced a $445 increase.

A former middle school teacher himself, Rep. Talarico says there’s no excuse for failing to take bold action.

“When I was a teacher, I struggled to make ends meet and now, 40% of Texas teachers work a second job just to pay the bills,” he said. “It’s no wonder that thousands of teachers across our state are leaving the profession.”

Within the Austin Independent School District, the average teacher salary is just below $58,000. This school year, the AISD board of trustees approved a 2% raise at the pay scale midpoint and a $1,000 base pay increase for its teachers.

However, the president of Education Austin — AISD’s employee union — Ken Zarifis said it’s still not enough.

“If we don’t see significant increases in school funding for all, our public education system in the state of Texas will continue to deteriorate,” he added.

Rep. Talarico believes his bill will attract and retain the best teachers in Texas classrooms.

Yet, Republican leaders such as governor Greg Abbott and lieutenant governor Dan Patrick are promising property tax relief.

That could potentially take more money away from school funding.

Rep. Talarico’s press conference will be held Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. in the Speaker’s Committee Room.


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