AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas Senate has passed the first bill of the 2019 legislative session, approving a $5,000 annual pay raise for teachers and school librarians.
The measure passed unanimously on Monday and now heads to the state House.
Under it, Texas would provide funding to school districts for raises for more than 350,00 full-time classroom teachers and librarians beginning next year. Costs to state coffers start at $1.9-plus billion annually and increase form there.
Teacher protests over low pay started in neighboring Oklahoma last year and spread to many other states.
Texas didn’t have such large protests, but lawmakers from both parties have vowed to increase classroom pay and funding. A stumbling block, however, may be that school funding relies heavily on property taxes, which top Republicans have vowed to cut.