August 14, 2005

The Screwing Of Texas Teachers Continues

We are currently in our second special legislative session here in Texas. Both have been called to deal with education issues, including teacher pay. So what has happened so far? Lots of nice words about teachers (while trying lowering our pension, increasing our contribution to the pension system, an increase in the retirement age and multiple attempts to gut hard-won provisions of state law that let us have a lunch period, planning period, and safe, orderly classrooms), but no movement on the pay raises for teachers, who are paid over $600 below the national average.

But the legislature has passed something.

And there is the Texas statehouse, where lawmakers, meeting in a so-called "education" session, recently sent Gov. Rick Perry a bill giving judges a pay raise while continuing to reward teachers with compliments and promises.

(Guess, in case you haven't heard, which profession's pay is tied, under a longstanding law, to legislators' retirement benefits. Yes, the bill that went to the governor will give those pensions a boost.)

Just so you understand what the legislature gets out of this bill, let me explain the situation. The Texas legislature is a part-time job which pays an annual salary of $7200. Yes, you read that right -- seven thousand two hundred dollars. Legislatorscan retire at age 50 with a pension of around $35,000 with 12 years of service -- and can receive over $100,000 with sufficient years of service and senior leadership positions factored in. Now the legilators could have amended the bill to eliminate the windfall to themselves (which, by the way, is some $6400 annually -- close to the amount Texas teachers are paid below the national average), but they didn't.

Which is not to say judges do not deserve a pay raise -- but look at what they are getting.

The judicial bill, which Perry is expected to sign, will increase the state's contribution to a state district judge's salary from $101,000 to $125,000 a year, which counties can continue to supplement. Salaries for court of appeals judges will rise from $107,000 to $137,500, and for members of the Texas Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals, from $113,000 to $150,000.

The raises, the first enacted by the Legislature since 1997, will bring judges' salaries in Texas more in line with other states.

Funny, isn't it, that the folks whose pay is being increased to the national average are already making over $100,000 annually, while teachers are only going to see half of their gap closed by this legislation -- and $1000 of that will be an illusion, switching our untaxed health care stipend to taxed salary dollars.

And i won't get into the issue of the failure to appropriate the money needed for new textbooks which are sitting in warehouses waiting for delivery.

These two issues of education funding may go by the wayside -- but at least the elected officials goth theirs during the "education" special session.

» Ticklish Ears links with: The Carnival of Education: Week 28

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» Ticklish Ears links with: The Carnival of Education: Week 28, on August 16, 2005, 11:28 PM
Excerpt: The Carnival has come to the North Carolina mountains! Welcome, one and all. I am grateful to EdWonk for allowing me this opportunity to host the Carnival. By the way, how do you like my specially-commissioned Carnival 28 artwork? It was provided ...

Comments on The Screwing Of Texas Teachers Continues

Don't forget the older generation. Christopher of the former Artichokeblog is now at

Someday you will be over 50 too, so show some love to the daddie's daddies and visit my blog.

|| Posted by dartanyon, August 14, 2005 04:24 PM ||

At least it looks like once again the Republicans are going to fall short of totally screwing us and the kids over.

Too bad HB2 with the Hochberg amendment didn't go through. I would've like a $4000 raise.

|| Posted by Mike in Texas, August 17, 2005 06:20 AM ||
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