Teachers' group calls Senate Bill 8 'slap in the face'
POSTED: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 - 1:02pm
UPDATED: Thursday, June 30, 2011 - 6:35pm
Lufkin, TX — A bill allowing school districts to furlough teachers or cut their pay to avoid layoffs passed both the House and the Senate this week and is headed to the governor’s desk.
The Texas American Federation of Teachers said Senate Bill 8 is a slap in the face of state educators.
House Public Education Chairman Rob Eissler (R-The Woodlands) said in a San Antonio Express-News article that SB 8 would allow school districts to lower teacher pay to save jobs.
“Most teachers care about each other. If they can save jobs by taking a day or two of furloughs and even take a small pay cut, they will do it,” Eissler said in the article.
However, local AFT representative Stephen Wright said the savings were not made clear by Eissler or by SB 8.
“Next to the budget itself, Senate Bill 8 is probably the worst bill for public educators in this session,” Wright said. “It’s under the guise of giving local flexibility and allegedly saving money, but even in the debate (Monday) it wasn’t clear that it would actually save any money, and if so, how much.”
Wright said the bill has several detrimental factors.
The measure allows for six unpaid furlough days for teachers and moves the contract notification date closer to the end of the school year.
Teachers typically receive their contracts on the 45th day before the end of school. SB 8 moves that up to the 10th day before the end of school.
The bill denies a teacher a hearing before an independent examiner of the Texas Education Agency if his or her contract is terminated in the case the district files financial exigency, or essentially financial distress.
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