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Bill that includes largest teacher pay raise in Texas history presented at State Capitol

Rep. James Talarico, a former teacher, authored House Bill 1548.

AUSTIN, Texas — Tuesday at the Texas State Capitol kicked off with Rep. James Talarico advocating for the largest teacher pay raise in state history.

Talarico held a press conference at 9:30 a.m. to discuss House Bill 1548, which would increase teacher pay by $15,000. It would also provide a 25% pay raise for school support staff.

KVUE's Natalie Haddad was at the Capitol and tweeted out Talarico's plan for teachers. If passed, his bill would raise the minimum teacher pay to $48,660 for zero years experience and raise the average teacher pay to $73,887.

Learn more about the minimum salary schedule set by the Texas Education Agency.

"This moment demands bold action and that’s what our state is known for," Talarico said in a statement. "House Bill 1548 would be the biggest teacher pay raise in Texas history. In Texas, we go big or we go home. Let’s go big on teacher pay."

His proposal states, "Texas is currently sitting on $47 billion worth of unused state funds. We can give every Texas teacher a $15,000 raise and still have HALF of the surplus left over."

It also states, "Teacher quality is the #1 most important factor influencing student success. Raising teacher pay to recruit and retain the best and brightest educators is the best investment we can make for our state."

Before Talarico was elected into the Texas House of Representatives, he served as a public school teacher and as the executive director for a nonprofit that provides technology to students. 

At Tuesday's press conference, he spoke about his struggles to make ends meet when he was a teacher, touching on the issue of his colleagues driving for Uber or selling their plasma for extra money.

Educators joined Talarico at the podium and spoke how they have either left or have considered leaving their jobs because of the lack of resources.

"Educators have always been grossly underpaid and overworked. We work well over the 40 hours we are barely paid for. We attend meetings, plan and grade after our contract hours. When we are sick, we make sub plans at 3 a.m. We receive parent emails after hours. We spend our Sundays getting ready for the week. We spend our own hard-earned money to make the school environment unforgettable for our students," said Deanna Perkins, a teacher with Leander ISD.

House Bill 1548 would provide a pay raise for teachers and school support staff that would make Texas the seventh-highest state in teacher pay. Currently in Texas, teacher pay is $7,500 below the national average.

This isn't the first time Talarico has presented a bill to raise teacher pay across Texas. In March 2021, he filed House Bill 3580, which aimed to set the minimum salary at $70,000, with an adjustment for inflation and an increase over time.

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