AUSTIN (KXAN) – The Texas House passed sweeping legislation on Thursday impacting school funding, teacher pay, and the way new educators will prepare to enter the classroom. The legislation is in response to a steep increase in the number of teachers leaving the profession.
The most recent data from the Texas Education Agency shows 16% more educators left the profession in 2021-22 than in the previous school year. The previous school year saw a 26% increase from the year before.
House Bill 100, filed by Rep. Ken King, R- Canadian, would move to calculate the amount of money districts receive from the state based on enrollment – and not attendance, and raise the per pupil funding, or the student allotment, from $6,160 to $6,250.
The bill would also raise and restructure the law which determines the minimum salary a district can offer a teacher. The salary schedule proposed would require districts to pay educators more based on both experience and the type of certificate or designation a teacher holds.
Currently, a teacher with five years of experience could make no less than $38,880 at a public school in Texas. Under this bill, a teacher with at least five years of experience and no certification would have to make at least $45,000 – and a teacher with a teaching certificate would have to be paid at least $50,000.
“From the educator’s perspective, HB 100 is on the right track in many respects, but there are still areas of concern as well as potential growth opportunities. For instance, this is an opportunity to experiment with enrollment-based funding,” the Association of Texas Professional Educators said in a statement to KXAN. “Above all, though, we believe the state could still use more of its historic surplus on efforts to recruit and retain educators, including an across-the-board pay raise. Let’s prioritize spending in that area instead of talking about any type of voucher.”
The bill passed the House 141-3 and now heads to the Senate.
The other bill that passed the House on Thursday, HB 11, filed by Rep. Dutton, D-Houston, would require the Texas Education Agency to create the Texas Teacher Residency Program.
The program, according to the bill, would allow qualified educators preparation programs to partner with school districts and charter schools to provide residency positions, where in new teachers could work alongside veteran teachers in the Pre-K through 12th-grade classrooms.
The bill requires school districts to pay half the salary of the teachers participating in the mentorship program – and also would provide a $2,000 stipend to teachers who help mentor the new educators.
It also would place some protections in the law for educators who resign due to a serious illness or health condition from facing state sanctions that would revoke or suspend their teacher certification.
“Educators are employed under contract to provide stability for students,” Association of Texas Professional Educators Executive Director Shannon Holmes said. “But sometimes there are extenuating circumstances, and those circumstances should not hinder an educator’s future employment prospects, especially at a time when districts are struggling to recruit and retain teachers.