In his State of the State Address, Gov. Bill Lee had this to say about funds he’s dedicating to teacher compensation:
We should raise teacher pay this year by $125 million, which is a well-deserved increase into the teacher salary pool.
Historically, funds put in the salary pool don’t always make it to deserving teachers. When we say teachers are getting a raise, there should be no bureaucratic workaround to prevent that.
This statement implies that there is some sort of trickery going on at the local level to divert state dollars intended for teacher pay. It’s deflection and blame-shifting. The reality is that the state underfunds teaching positions. By a lot.
That report noted:
“In fiscal year 2018-19, the BEP funding formula generated a total of 62,888 licensed instructional positions, but school systems employed a total of 69,633 with state and local revenue.”
“Although the changes made in 1992 and since have resulted in substantial increases in funding to support the BEP, meeting local needs and the requirements imposed by the state and federal governments often requires more resources than the BEP funding formula alone provides. Consequently, state and local funding in fiscal year 2017-18 totaled $2.1 billion over and above what was required by the BEP formula, including a total of $1.7 billion in local revenue.”
In other words, Lee knows that adding $125 million to teacher compensation WITHOUT also increasing the total number of positions funded means that money won’t result in a meaningful raise for current teachers. Instead, districts will use the teacher compensation money to fund positions NOT contemplated by the current formula.
So, here’s the real question: Will Lee’s proposed new formula result in the addition of 7,000-10,000 MORE teachers?
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