June 18, 2019

Texas small school districts officially screwed by House Bill 3

Remember how, less than six months ago, the Big Three of Texas politics — Abbott, Patrick, Bonnen — and their minutes in the Lege were talking about big bold property tax reform AND teachers getting $5,000 raises?

Well, in case it did not become clear to you before "sine die" from the Lege followed by Strangeabbott's "sign" or "die," the second part of that came nowhere close to happening.

Per what this blogger has seen on the ground in his day job, details of House Bill 3 are causing no end of confusion for small school districts. Rural districts, class 2A as well as class A, generally have the superintendent as district finance manager as well. No separate person for that.

Now, they theoretically have the experience in general, but with how late it was finalized and the number of moving parts it has, if you're a small school district superintendent and your district has a July 1 budget year, it's frustrating.

And, the bill's backers have frankly been semi-lying

In school districts with which this person is familiar, there may be an AVERAGE $4K raise, but if you're at the low end of the experience scale, your raise is about half that. And, that's as many districts are still trying to figure out just how much new money the state is giving them.

So, there's going to be a lot of disappointed teachers with less than five years of experience, thinking for months they were getting $5,000 raises and finding out they're getting $2,000 or $2,500 instead.

And, parents in school districts finding out that, beyond that, the state is giving their schools about zero new money for most things other than teacher pay raises.

As for the stated goal of helping small school districts retain teachers by having most the pay hikes kick in with five or more years of experience?

First, many small-town teachers want to be there for other reasons. If they're looking to move, it's for career advancement, or to move to a small town that interests them even more. Money comes after.

Second, if that's NOT why they're there, they'll be gone before the five-year mark.

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