On Tuesday morning, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law teacher raises and a sweeping overhaul of how the state pays to educate more than 5 million students in public schools.
While signing House Bill 3 at Parmer Lane Elementary School in Austin, Abbott called it a “monumental moment.”
“You could not overstate the magnitude of the law that I’m about to sign because this is a monumental moment in public education history in the state of Texas,” Abbott said. “We did something that was considered to be highly improbable, and that is to be able to transform public education in the state of Texas without a court order forcing us to do so. This one law does more to advance education in the state of Texas than any law that I have seen in my adult life in the state of Texas,” Abbott added.
House Bill 3 is expected to inject more than $11.5 billion into the public school finance system by dedicating more state funding for schools, creating an incentive pay program for teachers and adding career, college and military readiness bonuses for school districts. The bill is also expected to fund full-day Pre-K for low-income students.
According to the National Education Association, teacher salaries in Texas are currently about $7,000 below the national average but lawmakers who worked on the overhaul say veteran educators will see an average pay hike of roughly $4,000.
“The bill also creates a student-focused formula structure, where the needs of a child – not the child’s zip code – will determine funding allocations,” per a press advisory from Abbott’s office. “Additionally, the bill buys down property tax rates and places a 2.5% property tax cap on school districts starting in 2021.”
To learn more about what House Bill 3 will do for Texas, click here
Photo: Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune