Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Thursday that $1.6 billion in teacher raises are coming.
Abbott trumpeted the pay hikes near the end the Texas Legislative session.
“In the inauguration I made some pretty bold promises to the people of Texas,” said Abbott, who was sworn into a second term in January. “I said we must reward teachers in school districts that achieve results, we’ve done that. I said we must prioritize spending in the classroom, we’ve done that.”
A spending bill is not yet signed but is expected to reach Abbott’s desk before lawmakers adjourn Monday until 2021.
It makes Texas the latest state — and now the largest — to pour significant new dollars into classrooms in wake of teacher revolts across the U.S. since 2017. Public school teachers in Texas don’t collectively bargain and never went on strike, but teacher unions said they made their resentment known at the ballot box last year.
Teacher salaries in Texas are currently about $7,000 below the national average, according to the National Education Association. Lawmakers who worked on the new spending plan says the raises amount to roughly $4,000 for teachers with more than five years in the classroom, and that raises will also be given to librarians and school staff.
Abbott announced the raises as part of a broader deal that includes a school finance overhaul and reforms to slow rising property taxes. The plan includes $5 billion for tax relief and $4.5 billion for classrooms.