In addition to the collection of bills that would allow elimination of teacher rights and benefits at certain campuses or districts, several other bills opposed by TCTA are moving through the legislative process.

We have highlighted any bills that we believe require attention due to their current status; check back often to see which bills are on the "hot" list.

CONTACTING YOUR LEGISLATORS

Under each bill we have included information about where the bill is in the process and whom you should contact to express your opinions. We recommend that our members contact only their own elected legislators. You can find your elected representatives and senators, and their phone numbers and mailing information, HERE. If you click on the legislator’s name, you will be directed to the legislator’s House or Senate web page, which should include either a link or a web form that can be used if you prefer to communicate via email.

Salary schedule repeal

SB 893 by Sen. Kel Seliger is the highly-publicized legislation that eliminates the state minimum salary schedule for teachers and replaces it with a single minimum salary for all teachers of $27,540. Provisions in the original version of the bill that would have given the commissioner of education unprecedented authority over teacher compensation and appraisals have largely been eliminated or favorably modified, but other troubling conditions remain: a tie between local appraisals and the commissioner’s appraisal system still increases the commissioner’s authority over locally-adopted appraisals; and the ability of districts to appraise proficient teachers less than annually would be eliminated.

SB 893 has passed out of the Senate and has been referred to the House Public Education Committee. Its companion in the House, HB 2543 by Rep. Marsha Farney, was not scheduled for floor consideration in the House in time to meet the House deadline. To express concerns about SB 893, contact your state representative and ask that he/she vote against the bill if it comes to the House floor. (If your representative is a member of the Public Education Committee, ask for a "no" vote at the committee level.)

Tax credit/voucher

SB 4 is the tax credit/voucher bill that provides a franchise tax credit for businesses that fund scholarships for students to attend private schools. Eligible students include special education students, those in foster care, and those in households with an income of up to 250 percent of the federal guidelines for free and reduced-price lunch.

SB 4 has passed the Senate and has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee. To express concerns about this bill, contact your state representative and ask that he/she vote against the bill if it comes to the House floor.

A-F campus ratings

SB 6 is the bill that would impose A through F accountability ratings on campuses, beginning with the 2017-18 school year. Though a favorable amendment was added to ensure that individual accountability components would also receive letter grades, mitigating some concerns about the lack of nuance, the education community was united against this bill due to concerns that the A-F ratings would still be unduly punitive and fail to provide detailed information about how schools are performing.

SB 6 passed the Senate and its provisions have been amended into HB 2804, a different accountability bill that has passed the House and was scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Education Committee on May 21. If you would like to express your concerns about A-F ratings, contact your state senator and ask that he/she vote against HB 2804 when it comes to the Senate, as long as it includes the A-F ratings.

Expansion of virtual education

SB 894 would expand virtual education beyond its current limits, allowing online courses as early as kindergarten (current law allows virtual education starting with grade 3), and eliminates the limitation on the number of virtual classes a student may take at one time, enabling a student to enroll full-time in virtual classes. 

SB 894 has run afoul of end-of-session deadlines and will not pass. Its provisions could be amended into other legislation.

Elimination of payroll deduction

SB 1968 would prohibit school districts (and other public entities) from allowing employees to deduct professional association dues (such as TCTA membership dues) from their paychecks. Law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency medical services personnel are excluded from this prohibition.

SB 1968 passed the Senate and was heard in the House State Affairs Committee on May 21. Let your state representative know of your concerns and ask for a "no" vote if it comes to the House floor.