EL PASO, Texas (CBS4) — Texas House Bill 100 which aimed to raise teacher wages and provide additional funding for Texas public schools is at risk of being dragged into a special session.
El Paso State Rep. for District 78, Joe Moody, said the original bill had the votes necessary to pass in the House of Representatives.
“House Bill 100 as it left the Texas House was aimed at shoring up teacher pay and it was also aimed at making sure that inflation and what we’ve been experiencing in the economy doesn’t hit our school districts so attached to it was $4.5 billion dollars to help schools handle those challenges," Moody said.
However, earlier in the week, Republicans tacked on education-savings accounts to the bill which Moody said does not have the votes to pass in the house.
“To add it onto a bill that is aimed at helping teachers and pay them what they deserve, and also aimed at helping our school districts, I think is a little bit unfair," Moody said.
Education-savings accounts are also known as vouchers.
If Gov. Greg Abbott were to approve vouchers, Texas families who switch their children from public schools to instead attend private or charter schools could receive $8,000.
To that, Moody said it’s an issue that can be further discussed separately from teacher raises.
“If we’re going to come back in a special session and talk about education savings accounts, let's do it then, let's not damage the good work that we’ve done for the benefit of our teachers,” said Moody.
The president of the El Paso Teachers Association, Norma De La Rosa said a raise in teacher wages is long overdue.
“We’re hoping that with the excessive amount that we have in here that more money will be provided to our private schools to provide the resources that we need for our students and also to provide the salaries and the benefits that all education employees desperately need,” said De La Rosa.
De La Rosa added she is hopeful the House of Representatives will do the right thing and pass a clean bill for teacher raises.
“Since the pandemic, so much more has been piled on their plates of what they have to do because again we have teachers that are not only leaving the district but they are leaving the profession.”
The state legislative session will end on May 28.
Moody's can be reached via phone at 915-751-2700 and email Joe.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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