During their regular board meeting on May 20, Keller ISD trustees passed a resolution calling on Governor Gregg Abbott and state legislators to increase the basic funding allotment to provide pay raises for teachers and staff.

The details

According to district documents, the resolution recognizes the “vital role of educators and staff in Texas,” and is therefore asking Abbott and members of the Texas Legislature to “support our hardworking educators and staff by increasing the basic allotment to a level necessary to address pay disparities and offset inflation, ensuring significant increases in all educator and staff salaries.”

The resolution cites a 2023 report from the governor’s teacher vacancy task force that highlighted the following:
  • Educators and staff are identified as the single most important factor impacting student outcomes.
  • Salary increases have not kept pace with recent inflation rates, contributing to educators and staff leaving the field.
The resolution also calls out the fact that despite entering the 88th legislative session in 2023 with a historic $32.7 billion budget surplus, legislators failed to allocate sufficient funding to address the following:
  • Provide pay raises for educators
  • A 17% inflation increase
  • Underfunded mandates
  • Update the basic allotment, which has remained unchanged since 2019
Quotes of note

Superintendent Tracy Johnson called out Abbott for his lack of action in regard to providing more funding for teacher and staff pay and other financial support.

“Governor Abbott stated that he has no interest in calling another special session,” Johnson said. “In fact, he said that he is not responsible for the budget deficits that the majority of school districts are facing across the entire state of Texas.”

Johnson added that Abbott’s inaction is in light of the fact that the state is sitting on an unprecedented surplus.

“An increase in student allotment would allow us to offer a raise to our staff, which is not only necessary, but is one that is well deserved,” Johnson said.

A closer look

The current basic allotment per student in Texas is $6,160. At the Keller ISD board meeting on April 25, Assistant Superintendent John Allison said the basic allotment would need to be $7,100 to compensate for inflation since 2019.

“The state’s failure to meet their constitutional obligation to education is what is driving not only Keller’s budget issues, but school districts across the state of Texas,” Allison said on April 25. “The district is preparing to enter their fifth budget cycle without any increase in revenues. That’s almost unimaginable."

On May 13, Abbott issued a letter to State Rep. Jon Rosenthal, D-Houston, calling out House Democrats for not supporting Rep. Brad Buckley’s, R-Killeen, bill that would have given school districts an additional $6 billion in funding for teacher pay raises and school safety measures. However, the funding would be tied to supporting public school vouchers, which many Democrats and rural district Republicans in the Legislature oppose.