Lawmakers Agree on Teacher Pay Raises

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AUSTIN -- State lawmakers inched closer today to reaching a deal on a school finance package.

No definite agreements were reached, but leaders said they had agreed on a teacher pay raise and were discussing raising the homestead exemption by $7,500 for Texas homeowners. But the issue of recapture -- money that property wealthy districts give back to the state for poorer districts -- still has negotiators stumped.

Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst said lawmakers were "real close." The special session ends Wednesday. But lawmakers would need to have both compromise bills available for consideration by the full chambers on Monday or Tuesday.

Republican Governor Rick Perry called the special session to restructure the way Texans are taxed to pay for public schools. Both the House and the Senate have approved their versions of the two bills. Panels of 10 lawmakers for each must work out the differences.