The House Democratic Caucus held a press conference Thursday morning to announce the group's comprehensive framework for public education. Key points include:

  • Funding for full-day prekindergarten, described as the cornerstone of the plan
  • $3.7 billion dedicated to employee pay raises, without a specified method (e.g., across-the-board vs. merit pay) or amount, but with the intention to include other employees besides classroom teachers
  • A $100/month increase in the state's health insurance contribution (currently $75/month, would go to $175/month)
  • Ongoing increases in teacher salaries, with the expectation of achieving the national average within five years
  • A one-time infusion of $1.57 billion from the Rainy Day Fund to shore up the Teacher Retirement System pension fund
  • A one-time $500 check to all teachers for reimbursement for classroom supplies
  • Funding to ensure that every campus can afford to hire a licensed behavioral health professional
  • A constitutional amendment to increase the homestead exemption from $25,000 to $50,000
  • A "legacy fund" proposal to use a significant portion of the Rainy Day Fund to invest in a way that would bring in new dollars, which would be used to help resolve underfunded liabilities such as the state's pension funds

House Democratic Caucus Chair Chris Turner explained that the plan would not be incorporated in a single piece of legislation, but would be filed as several bills. TCTA will provide more specifics on aspects of the plan, including the compensation piece, when the relevant bills are filed.