TCTA provided testimony on a number of bills in Tuesday's House Public Education hearing, which began at 8 a.m. and lasted until 9:30 at night. Much of that time was spent hearing from more than 50 witnesses on the school finance/voucher legislation, HB 253 by Rep. Ron Simmons. 

TCTA supported legislation (HB 149 by Rep. Cindy Burkett), which would ensure that districts reducing their number of instructional days can proportionately reduce required teacher days (without reducing salaries); TCTA had worked on this legislation throughout the regular session, persuading Senate Education Committee Chair Larry Taylor to file the Senate version and pass it through that chamber. However, the bill stalled after passing through House Public Education. We also supported a TCTA-initiated bill from the regular session (HB 264 by Rep. Gina Hinojosa), that prohibits charter schools from discriminating in admissions against students with a disciplinary history.

In addition to the Simmons bill, which would have provided tax credits for businesses making contributions that would be used to pay tuition to private school and related costs for students with disabilities, TCTA provided testimony in opposition to two other bills:

  • HB 157 by Rep. Gervin-Hawkins would further undermine the value of a teaching certificate by expanding the pool of persons who would be eligible to pursue a trade and industrial workforce training certificate, which requires only 80 hours of instruction on pedagogy. (See testimony here.)
  • HB 198 by Rep. Clardy is a teacher salary bill that would require districts to raise salaries to achieve an average salary $1,000 higher than their current average (with an exclusion for districts that already have an average of at least $51,000). A specific funding mechanism would only be provided for additional funding for increasing salaries for teachers achieving special designations, based on earning National Board Certification, recommendations from the district and evidence of high student performance. (See testimony here.)

Other bills receiving a hearing included a bill extending 22:1 class sizes to pre-K and a bill providing for reimbursements to teachers for up to $600 in classroom expenditures. All bills were left pending.