Senate Bill 3, which would provide teachers with a $5,000 raise, advanced to the full Senate this week. TCTA testified for the bill during a Senate Finance Committee hearing Monday and recommended an amendment (offered by Sen. Kirk Watson and added to the bill during the hearing) to ensure the raise is ongoing in future years. TCTA also asked that counselors, librarians and nurses be included in the required raise, and that additional funding be provided to districts for salary increases for other key employees such as teacher aides.

All members of the Senate Finance Committee have signed on as SB 3 co-authors, as have all but three senators (as of this writing). Meanwhile, on the House side, the unveiling of House Public Education Committee Chair Dan Huberty's school finance plan is expected next week. Thus far, the House leadership has indicated a preference for merit-based pay proposals and local control instead of an across-the-board pay increase. We should have information next week on how or if the House plans to recommend pay raises.

This week in the House, the Public Education Committee held a hearing, reviewing several bills that TCTA supports. The Appropriations Subcommittee on Article III continued its work on the budget, hearing updates from TEA and TRS.

Next week, the House Public Education Committee focuses on accountability proposals in a Tuesday hearing. A recent Texas Monthly article questioning the validity of STAAR exams may make for a lively hearing. On Thursday, the House Appropriations Committee will consider the recommendations of the Article III subcommittee on education budget issues.