Teachers React to School Finance Plan

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Law makers believe they've successfully come up with a solution to fix the state's school finance problem. But others say it still doesn't address the funding needs of schools.

Texas legislatures wrapped up a special session on school finance Monday night, with a 5 part plan. The Texas State Teachers Association says it's a good start but doesn't solve the real problem.

"I think once again the legislature is doing another band aid approach. What Texas needs is a permanent, dependable long term solution to school finance as most other states have come up with," said Bobby Slovak with the Texas State Teachers Association.
The plan would reduce school property taxes, use $2.4 billion of the state's surplus, change the state's business tax so more companies have to pay, and raise the cigarette tax. But some educators fear that won't generate enough money for schools in the future.

"I'm concerned that there will not be enough revenue to take the place of a reduction in property tax and provide new revenue for school districts and I'm also concerned that it won't be sustainable over time," said College Station ISD Superintendent Jimmy Creel.

One thing most educators are happy about is the $2,000 teacher pay raise. One thing they're not happy about is the incentive pay program which would pay bonuses to teachers for improving academic performances.

“If there is going to be incentive pay, we think every school that improves should spread that money around for everybody who works at that school," said Slovak.

Many local educators say they're thankful that law makers reached an agreement on some issues. But will have to see how the new plan plays out, should Governor Perry sign it.

"I'm not sure we have a long term solution and I hope that is something that the legislation will come back and address in the next regular session," said Creel.

Governor Perry is expected to pass the school finance bill.