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TASB Legislative Update

 
Senate passes bill to raise teacher pay
 
As expected on Monday, the Texas Senate unanimously passed SB 3 (Nelson), which would provide an across-the-board $5,000 pay raise to all full-time classroom teachers. Chairwoman Nelson had already amended the bill to provide additional support for associated Teacher Retirement System costs the raises would incur; extend the raise mandate to charter schools; and prohibit districts from supplanting current salaries with the additional funding. Nelson amended the bill on the Senate floor to include librarians in the bill. The changes bring the total cost of the bill to about $4 billion.
 
Some senators discussed including nurses, counselors, and other school personnel, but stopped short of introducing amendments. Nelson noted that local school districts could provide those raises and that other bills that will be forthcoming will address other aspects of school finance, including merit pay.  
 
There were comments from some senators chastising districts and school boards for not prioritizing teachers and their salaries and wanting districts to follow the state’s lead on raising teacher pay. View the discussion (beginning at one hour into the video).
 
 
 
Senate Ed adds school security bills for Tuesday
 
The Senate Education Committee added three bills to its posting for Tuesday’s meeting at 9 a.m. Watch the hearing. The new bills are:
 
SB 11 (Taylor) is a broad school safety bill filed and introduced on Monday. Among other things, the bill provides state funds for local health authorities to hire non-physician mental health providers to work of education service centers to provide advice and training on mental health and substance abuse to school personnel. The bill also requires charter schools to comply with school safety requirements; requires training on the effects of grief and trauma on student learning; calls for updates to emergency operations plans; outlines steps when districts fail to comply with their plans, including conservatorship and boards of managers; and calls for set procedures in the event of bomb or terroristic threats. We’ll have a more detailed summary in a future update. 
 
SB 477 (Creighton) would change the expiration date of school marshal licenses from the first birthday of the licensee after the second anniversary of receiving the license to August 31 after the second anniversary of receiving the license. 
 
SB 811 (Hughes) would provide immunity to school security personnel (district peace officers, school marshals, school resource officers, and retired peace officers hired or volunteering at the school) from damages resulting from any reasonable action taken to maintain safety of a school campus, including action relating to the possession or use of a firearm. 
 
The original posting included the following three bills: 
 
SB 243 (Creighton) would permit a school marshal to use a handgun that the marshal is authorized to carry or possess, and the handgun does not have to be secured in a locked safe.
 
SB 244 (Creighton) would permit public and private schools to appoint one or more marshals for each campus and would remove the limit of one marshal per 200 students or one marshal per building. 
 
SB 406 (Birdwell) would permit public school and junior college marshals appointed by the governing board to carry a concealed handgun on their person in addition to placing the handgun in a locked and secured location, which is the only option available under current law.