Smaller Than Advertised: How Recent Legislative Action Will Affect Teacher Salaries

The Legislature increased pay for teachers, but the size of raises varies greatly

  • Legislators ultimately chose not to approve an across-the-board raise.
  • The proposed across-the-board raise would have consumed almost all of the money the Legislature allotted for education, leaving almost nothing to give pay raises to other employees, reduce class sizes or add new academic programs.
  • Legislators chose instead to tie raises to a percentage of a district’s overall funding increase, and to allow for raises for all non-administrative school employees, not just teachers.
  • Districts receiving smaller funding increases will have fewer dollars for raises.

Much of the $11.6 billion in House Bill 3 is not going to education

  • Legislators decided late in the legislative session to more aggressively pursue property-tax relief than what was contained in some earlier proposals, such as the version of HB 3 that the House approved in early April.
  • The emphasis on property-tax relief left fewer new dollars for schools.
  • It is the tax-relief provisions of the bill that will grow more expensive in future years. More and more state revenue will be earmarked for property-tax relief as opposed to public education.

Actual raises will fall far short of the $4,000 state leaders have promoted

  • It has been said that the average teacher raise will be $4,000.
  • The $4,000 figure simply doesn’t add up.  To arrive at $4,000 average raise, you either have to count significant dollars invested in the pension fund for retired teachers (which are worthwhile, but will not flow to active teachers), or you have to assume that only teachers with six years of experience or more will get raises, which is not true.
  • Pay raises will vary greatly based on many factors, such as whether a district was paying close to the minimum salary schedule and whether the teacher qualifies for incentive-pay initiatives.
  • Raises will also depend on how much of an overall funding increase the district received from House Bill 3. Some districts are seeing little-to-no increase in funding, and those districts will therefore have little-to-no raises to deliver to teachers and other staff.