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Teacher Pay Cut Bill Advances In Texas Senate

Photo by Liang Shi for KUT News

A bill that would give school districts the power to furlough teachers and unilaterally cut their pay cleared a major hurdle in the Texas Senate today. SB 8 was approved on second reading 18-12.  The proposal will require a final vote to move out of the Senate.

Many Texas school districts have already been planning on such measures clearing the Senate to help them deal with $4 billion in cuts to public education.  Chief Financial Officer Nicole Conley-Abram with the Austin Independent School District said in this budget presentation that enacting two unpaid furlough days would save the district about $4.2 million.  Austin ISD is also among the districts that is counting on the legislature to raise class size limits. Classroom in kindergarten through fourth grade currently cannot have more than 22 students per teacher. House Bill 18 would require the Texas Education Agency to grant waivers that allow districts to have up to 25 students per teacher.

AISD school board president Mark Williams told the Senate Education Committee on in February that raising class size limits could save the district about $10 million a year.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.
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