NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Teachers in East Texas are sharing their optimism after traveling to Austin to discuss Senate Bill 3, a bill that would increase teacher by $5,000 after the legislative session.
Roya Dinbali, a teacher at Nacogdoches High School and the Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE) Regional Representative, and John Donihoo, an ATPE officer and Woden ISD teacher, traveled along with other teachers from East Texas visited Austin in support of ATPE and on behalf of public education.
As a forensic science teacher, Dinbali applies science to criminal law. As an activist for ATPE, she said she’s out to change the law when it comes to teacher pay.
“Teachers should be paid as much as doctors and lawyers in my opinion,” Dinbali said.
A good starting point is the proposed $5,000 raise for classroom teachers which is more significant than past raises. Donihoo agreed that the system already in place only covered year-to-year costs.
“Typically any raise we might get from year to year, if any at all, would certainly be offset by the rising health care costs," Donihoo explained.
The first challenge to the proposal is that some school administrators want control of the funds instead of requiring across-the-board raises. Nacogdoches ISD Superintendent Alton Frailey noted it’s early in the legislative process. He responded for this story with a statement, reading in part “any additional funding provided by the state for public education is always welcome, especially if it can ease the property tax burden placed on local taxpayers.”
“It was made very clear in the Senate meeting yesterday that this would be a fully funded bill by the state," Donihoo said. “It’s already been allotted for in Senate Bill 1 which is the current budget.”
“It needs to come for all of us. It takes a village to teach a student, not just a teacher,” Dinbali added.
Senate Bill 3 is now ready for the Senate floor, and has been co-signed by a bipartisan group of more than 20 co-authors. If passed, teachers in East Texas could see a pay raise as early as the end of this legislative session.