House appoints its conferees on Senate Bill 8

Speaker Joe Straus on Tuesday appointed the House conferees on Senate Bill 8, the legislation allowing school districts to order teachers to take furloughs, cut their pay and weaken teacher employment rights.

The House conferees, all Republicans, are Public Education Chairman Rob Eissler of The Woodlands, Jimmie Don Aycock of Killeen, Myra Crownover of Lake Dallas, Kelly Hancock of Fort Worth and Dan Huberty of Humble.

The conference committee may make this bill less objectionable. But it includes many bad provisions, including the furloughs, removal of the 2009 salary floor for returning teachers, freezing the salary schedule at 2010-2011 levels, giving terminated teachers less notification time, removing a dismissed teacher’s right to an independent hearing and removing seniority as a factor in determining layoffs when school district impose reductions in force.

So, TSTA believes educators would be best served if Senate Bill 8 were to die. So, please keep calling your state representatives (toll-free, 800-260-5444), demanding votes AGAINST SB8 when it returns from conference to the House floor for a final vote.

The speaker on Tuesday also appointed House conferees on Senate Bill 6, the instructional materials allotment bill. Those conferees are Eissler, Aycock, Republican Dan Branch of Dallas and Democrats Scott Hochberg of Houston and Mark Strama of Austin.

The House version of SB6 includes an amendment weakening some of the new end-of-course exam requirements for the next school year. The chief Senate conferee, Sen. Florence Shapiro, will try to remove that provision.