When Gov. Greg Abbott gave his State of the State address earlier this month, he prioritized increasing teacher pay, telling lawmakers, “We must provide incentives to put effective teachers in the schools and classrooms where they are needed the most.”

Now one lawmaker in the Texas House has filed legislation to do just that.

On Tuesday, State Rep. Matt Shaheen (R–Plano) filed House Bill 1947 which would establish financial incentives to school districts who implement a merit-based pay for teachers through the creation of the “Teacher Excellence Initiative Program,” based off an identically-named program established in Dallas ISD.

“After parents, teachers are the biggest determinants of a child’s success,” said Shaheen. “The impact of an invested and loving teacher cannot be overstated, and if we hope to attract quality teachers to invest in our children’s lives, we have to pay them competitively.”

“We want to reward and incentivize our best teachers,” he added. “Especially those that work in some of our most challenging programs and schools. Good teachers are crucial to our children’s success and our state’s future.”

Such legislation is sure to draw opposition from teacher unions and school district lobbyists, who have vocally opposed performance-based pay measures.

Meanwhile in the Senate, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has trumpeted Senate Bill 3, a bill by State Sen. Jane Nelson (R–Flower Mound) which would provide for an across-the-board raise of $5,000 to all classroom teachers across the state, regardless of performance.

While most bills may not be considered by the legislature until after the first 60 days, emergency items declared by the governor are given a head start, and can be taken up anytime.

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens