Making only minor changes to the merit pay portion of the bill, and adding some important fixes to the $5,000 teacher pay raise language, the Senate passed HB 3 by a 26-2 vote, with 3 abstentions. We will post the official vote and some of the key amendment votes when they become available, and an upcoming post will include more details about other provisions in the bill.

Two TCTA-initiated amendments to ensure that the $5,000 pay raise would continue to be funded in future years, and to ensure that districts would have to use the funding to supplement, rather than supplant, current salary levels, were successful. Teacher groups had worked closely with several senators to attempt amendments to eliminate or significantly change the problematic merit pay provisions in the Senate's version of HB 3, but in the end only two relatively minor changes were made. One by Sen. Kirk Watson would place an upper limit of 35% on the level at which student performance would factor into teacher appraisals, and one by Sen. Eddie Lucio would ensure that 90% of the funding received for merit pay would actually be used for teacher pay. 

Other amendments that were NOT approved included an attempt by Sen. Beverly Powell to remove outcomes-based funding for third grade based on test results; an effort by Sen. Judith Zaffirini to add counselors, nurses and speech pathologists to the $5,000 teacher pay raise; and several tries at either improving or outright eliminating the merit pay provisions (Sens. Menendez, Rodriguez, and West).

Special thanks go to Sen. Kirk Watson, who offered the successful teacher pay raise amendments, and to the other senators who attempted friendly, if unsuccessful, amendments throughout the day.

HB 3 will next return to the House, which will accept or reject the Senate's changes. If the House rejects the changes, as is expected, a conference committee will be appointed to work out the differences and develop an agreed-upon bill.