Teachers across Texas have a reason — and the right — to celebrate one effect of House Bill 3, which passed in the 86th Legislature and was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott on June 11.
The proposal was long overdue.
The bill states that for the 2019-20 year, school districts and open enrollment charter schools will be required to increase salaries for certain staff as prescribed under Section 48.051© of the Education Code, which states “a school district must use at least 30 percent of the amount, if the amount is greater than zero, that equals the product of the average daily attendance of the district multiplied by the amount of the difference between the district’s funding under this chapter per student in average daily attendance for the current school year and the preceding school year to provide compensation increases to full-time employees other than administrators.”
The statute also requires prioritizing differentiated compensation for classroom teachers with more than five-years’ experience, and establishes an expectation that compensation increases given to experienced teachers would be higher than other compensation changes planned for the new school year.
Sounds complicated, right? And it is complicated for the school boards across the state working this summer to implement HB 3.
There also might be problems ahead for school districts and perhaps for local taxpayers in attempting to do what the new law mandates. A lot remains to be seen.
The initial bottom line, however, is that HB 3 finally gave teachers what they deserve — a raise.
Teacher salaries in Texas are about $7,000 a year below the national average, according to the National Education Association.
Under HB 3, Texas teachers will see an average pay increase of roughly $4,000.
That’s good news, we think, not only for first-year teachers, but for teachers who have been in the classrooms for a long time and love shaping young children’s minds for the future.
Districts such as Galveston, Santa Fe and Texas City independent school districts have already approved 2019-20 budgets with HB 3 increases in teacher salaries. Galveston’s first-year teachers will make $53,000, Santa Fe, $54,000, and Texas City’s board approved salaries for first-year teachers at $55,000.
With these approvals, Santa Fe’s board of trustees also approved a 3 percent midpoint increase for all employees for 2019-20. All full-time employees identified in HB 3, such as teachers, counselors, librarians and registered nurses with more than five years of service will receive an additional 1 percent midpoint increase.
Both the 3 percent and 4 percent increase, as appropriate, is inclusive of his/her credible years of service and such percentage is inclusive of any raise through Legislative action. The board also approved additional budgeted dollars as necessary to meet compensation/calculations as a result of HB 3, which have yet to be fully determined at the time of budget adoption, according to district officials.
On Tuesday, Texas City ISD trustees approved a $2.1 million salary increase for all staff, which exceeds the state mandate in HB 3. Raises range from 3.2 percent to 7.5 percent for teachers, librarians, counselors and nurses. All other staff will receive an increase of 3 percent of midpoint.
And, in addition to starting salary increase for teachers in Galveston ISD, teachers, counselors, librarians and nurses will receive at least a $2,000 raise for the 2019-20 school year, said district officials.
Clear Creek, Dickinson, Friendswood and Hitchcock independent school districts are awaiting proposed salaries for 2019-20 after board meetings later this summer.
And, even though there are questions and uncertainties on how the state of Texas will fund HB 3, state legislators took the proverbial first step, which is good news for educators across Texas.
• Angela Wilson