$11.6 billion boost for Texas public education - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

$11.6 billion boost for Texas public education

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House Bill 3 gives Texas teachers a pay hike. (KTEN) House Bill 3 gives Texas teachers a pay hike. (KTEN)

GRAYSON COUNTY, Texas -- Public education is getting a lot of attention at Greg Abbott's desk.

The Texas governor signed House Bill 3 at an Austin elementary school on Tuesday. It's an $11.6 billion plan to reform school finance; $5.1 billion of that total is earmarked to lower school district taxes, with the remainder targeted to improve public education and provide teacher pay raises.

Abbott called it a "monumental moment."

"We're glad to see additional money for public schools," said Sherman Independent School District Assistant Superintendent Dr. Tyson Bennett. "The legislature has addressed some of the key areas that they talked about addressing when they first got started."

Lawmakers who worked on the overhaul say veteran educators will see an average pay hike of about $4,000.

EducationWeek.org reports the average national teacher salary is nearly $62,000. Texas educators get about $8,000 less, and Oklahoma teachers fall $10,000 below average.

"What we are hoping to do in the district is to increase pay for all of our people... especially teachers, but also to the paraprofessionals and other people as well," said Denison ISD Superintendent Dr. Henry Scott.

Both Grayson County districts hope the Texas Legislature will maintain this momentum. 

"We're really looking to see some of those revenue sources over time that's going to sustain this finance bill," Bennett said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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