TSTA testifies against pay cuts

TSTA Public Affairs Director Richard Kouri on Thursday testified before the Senate Education Committee against Senate Bill 8, legislation that would allow school districts to cut teacher pay in two ways. One provision would let districts order teacher furloughs for as many as six non-instructional days a year and reduce their pay accordingly. The other would eliminate the salary floor enacted in 2009. 

The committee delayed action on the bill, but the fight isn’t over. So please keep calling your state senators, demanding votes AGAINST Senate Bill 8. 

The bill also would change the notification date for contract non-renewals from 45 days before the end of instruction to 10 days before the end of instruction. It would impose a similar change on termination notices for probationary contracts. And, the measure would eliminate seniority as a factor in determining layoffs during reductions in force. 

The Senate Finance Committee and the House Appropriations Committee held separate hearings Thursday on legislation (Senate Bill 1 in the Senate and House Bill 1 in the House), which would make a number of fiscal changes necessary to balance the new state budget passed during the recent regular session. 

TSTA filed written testimony before both committees, urging legislators to find additional revenue for the public schools, including spending more money from the Rainy Day Fund. The governor and the Legislature left $6 billion of that emergency fund unspent at the end of the regular session. 

The Senate Finance Committee approved Senate Bill 1 Thursday afternoon. The House Appropriations Committee plans to act on House Bill 1 on Saturday. 

The House Public Education Committee will meet on Friday to consider several bills, including HB18 by Chairman Rob Eissler, which would raise the 22-1 class size limit in grades K-4. The committee also will hear bills dealing with teacher contracts and school district reductions in force. 

Also pending before the House Public Education Committee is House Bill 8, which includes the same anti-teacher provisions as Senate Bill 8 plus the 22-1 revisions. 

The Senate Education Committee also heard Senate Bill 6, an instructional materials allotment bill, on Thursday and approved that measure.