Texas lawmaker proposes surplus goes to raising teachers’ salaries across the state

Happy teacher and elementary student using a tablet during class
Happy teacher and elementary student using a tablet during class Photo credit Getty Images/Drazen Zigic

Lawmakers in Texas are currently trying to figure out what to do with the state’s surplus of $33 billion.

That’s quite a chunk of change, and one Texas lawmaker believes it could be spent on an oft overlooked, but incredibly important, profession.

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State Rep. James Talarico (D-Austin, Dist. 50) plans to file a bill this week that would raise teachers’ salaries across the state!

Currently, Texas is $7,500 behind the national average for teacher pay, paying teachers an average of $58,000 a year, ranking them in the bottom 10 states across the country.

If the bill passes, it would move Texas into the top 10 of states in teacher pay!

Talarico said per NBC DFW, “We're going to be proposing the biggest teacher pay raise in Texas history. Totally stop the bleeding. And try to recruit the best and brightest into our classrooms so that we can serve the next generation.”

Talarico is a former middle school teacher, and says with the state’s $33 billion budget surplus, there's no excuse for not making a down payment on the future.

"So even doing the biggest pay raise in Texas history will still leave more than half the surplus left to spend on other priorities. This is something we have to do for our kids. And for our teachers and for the next generation,” he said.

"When I was an educator, I struggled to make ends meet and now, 40% of teachers have to work a second job just to pay the bills. So it's no wonder that thousands of teachers are leaving the profession, throwing our state into a historic teacher shortage crisis."

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images/Drazen Zigic