80° San Marcos
The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Approved teacher pay increase sparks debate

teacher+pay+info
teacher pay info

A new House bill in Texas has given the green light for a $302.6 billion state budget for teacher and state employee raises.
House Bill 1, which was filed in January, passed with a 136-10 vote. This spending plan is for the next two years and focuses on pay raises to state employees with tax cuts and mental health services to residents. The money will also be used for border security and $5 billion for academic use. There will be a discussion on what to do with the $37.2 billion surplus.
The Texas House and Senate both pass their own versions of this budget and differ on how money should be allocated. The Senate bill includes a one-time pay increase for teachers up to $2,000-$3,800. 
While some view this news as positive, teacher organizations around Texas do not think the same. Kate Johanns, communications director of the Association of Texas Professional Educators, said that there is much more needed from this bill.
“We see three big needs from this money,” Johanns said. “One is passing a school safety bill because of all the tragedies that have been happening recently. We also believe there is the ability for the state to provide a meaningful across-the-board pay raise. At least $10,000. Lastly, we believe the state has the capability to fully fund special education needs.”
Johanns said that their organization has many teachers involved to advocate for the different aspects of the needs of educators around Texas. They also have multiple teachers who use their limited absent days to go and advocate for higher teacher pay.
“We have a professional lobby team that is at the Capitol every day, working with lawmakers. Also, our members are also heavily involved,” Johanns said. “Right now we are waiting on the final version of the budget to see what we will actually be getting from it. People don’t realize how much politics is involved in being a teacher.”
According to a Government Accountability Office report from June 2022, public education has lost about 7% of its teacher population due to constraints such as strict time demands, behavior issues and lack of administrative support.
Mason Bishop, a freshman biology teacher at Stockdale High School an hour outside of San Antonio, said that he knows that most teachers don’t go into the profession for the money but to help students grow. The last time teachers saw a pay increase was in 2019 from House Bill 3 passed by the state legislature. 
“I think the government should move to increase the minimum salary for teachers to make the profession a more viable option to individuals considering a career as an educator,” Bishop said. 
Bishop understands how hard being a teacher can be today and the sacrifices and stress that come with it.
“Teachers help to shape the youth intellectually and emotionally in ways that will stay with them for their entire lives,” Bishop said. “I love being a teacher, and I don’t mind celebrating all the teachers that give that special effort to help our youth make the most of their futures.”
According to a survey from Teachers Pay Teachers, an online marketplace for curriculum content by teachers, 48% of 6,000 teachers surveyed said they have considered quitting their jobs. While this is a significant amount, the number of education degrees awarded has dropped 22% between 2006 and 2019 due to pay, COVID-19 and other issues.
Kristi Johnson, an education senior, said House Bill 1 needs to cover much more than just a pay increase.
“[Teaching] was great before we had the worries of school shootings and losing the right to teach our own material to the students we are with every day,” Johnson said. “I think that no salary from a house bill can compensate teachers for the behaviors, fears and lack of administrative and state support that they face daily.”
The budget for HB 1 is not finalized yet, and House and Senate members are still discussing how the money will be allocated. Johnson believes the government should pay teachers for more than just teaching but for dealing with student behavioral problems. 
“From the government, I would like to see pay raises, but I would love to see more schools or classes for behaviorally challenged students,” Johnson said. “Teachers that are professionally trained in behavior should be the ones handling it, not the ones who aren’t.”
Johnson believes that teachers are very close to parents of those who don’t get to see their own at home.
“Teachers set the foundations for children. If teachers don’t care, that discourages students,” Johnson said. “Teachers are the ones trained, ready, and available to teach what parents don’t have the time to work on at home anymore.”
For more information and updates on the new house bill and budget, visit the Texas Legislature website.

Donate to The University Star

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The University Star