Legislative Update | Lewisville ISD
June 15, 2023
As we continue to digest results from the 88th Legislative Session, I wanted to share an update regarding big takeaways from the season. As we entered this session, the biggest concern from public educators and legislators alike was how we were going to address the recruitment and retention of the teacher workforce.
Back in March 2022, Governor Greg Abbott directed the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to immediately create a task force to seek solutions regarding the statewide teacher shortage we were facing. As we progressed through the fall elections into January, the 88th Legislative Session convened and we were hopeful we would see adjustments to public school funding given the conversations surrounding compensation for public educators.
In February 2023, the TEA released the final report from the results of the Teacher Vacancy Task Force. The report was titled “Developing a Thriving Teacher Workforce in Texas”. It determined Texas has the largest teacher labor market and educator preparation system in the nation and stated, “state leadership must prioritize efforts to recruit, prepare and retain effective educators to ensure all students receive a quality education.”
As the legislative session convened, the comptroller released preliminary information telling us Texas was facing a budget surplus of $27B. Of course, we know now that number grew to a record-breaking $33B, a surplus that could be used in part to address the recommendations from the Task Force. The comptroller shared, “This truly is a once in a lifetime legislative session for budgeting and priorities that the Legislature might want to fund.”
The Task Force recommendations fell into three key areas: teacher compensation, training and support, and working conditions. Concerning compensation, the report recommended policy-makers “fund a significant increase in overall teacher salaries by increasing the basic allotment and other state funding mechanisms, while increasing the requirement that school systems invest new funding in teacher salaries”.
Back in December of 2022, LISD leaders established district legislative priorities ahead of the session, one of which was specifically to “increase the basic allotment to an amount that is in alignment to the percentage increase in inflation and establish a provision for this to be examined every legislative session.”
The regular Legislative Session ended May 29, and we know a few things regarding the impact to the basic allotment (BA). Before this legislative session, the BA sat at $6,160.
HB 882 and SB 88 proposed to increase the BA to $7,075, while several other bills proposed moving from attendance based funding to enrollment based funding, giving districts a more accurate and predictable funding model. A couple of other bills suggested giving teachers a $15,000 raise and classified educators a 25% raise.
None of these bills were ever even scheduled for a committee hearing, which means they had absolutely no chance of being passed. Nothing happened.
One bill that made it all the way to the conference committee was HB 100, which would have increased the BA to $6,250 for 23-24, and $6,300 for 24-25. Once HB 100 reached the senate, they added vouchers to the bill and lowered the BA increase to $6,210 total. However, the senate and the house could not reach an agreement so once again, Texas public schools saw no increase to the BA for the second legislative session in a row. Nothing happened.
Throughout this past school year, LISD has spent many local resources to recruit and retain our incredible employees. Resources that we are accountable for and maintain data on to ensure we remain good stewards of taxpayer dollars. The question is - what is our state leadership doing to support these efforts? Efforts that were deemed necessary from the task force findings.
Although the regular session is over, lawmakers have the ability to host special sessions regarding important topics that did not receive an appropriate resolution this season. On June 12, the Speaker of the House announced a select committee was formed on Educational Opportunity and Enrichment. The information we have about what this means is preliminary, and as more details surface, we will share more.
I recently shared with the legislators who represent LISD an update regarding the impacts of HB 1605 and HB 3 related to unfunded mandates that impact public education. Read that update here.
It is never too late to advocate for Texas public schools, for public educators, and for the educational opportunities for our students. Advocacy is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Visit lisd.net/legislative to stay up to date and to learn more about what you can do to support our schools.
From the beginning, Lewisville Independent School District has committed to ensuring all students are confident, equipped with the knowledge and skills to thrive and adapt for their future. Visit Best Schools in Texas for more information about joining the LISD family. Need this update in a different language? Visit LISD.net/translate.