AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – “Teachers had our backs. Now we must have theirs.” A lawmaker in Texas is looking to set a new minimum salary for teachers across the state. State Rep. James Talarico (D-Round Rock) on Thursday said he filed House Bill 3580, which would put that minimum salary at $70,000.
“Our teachers have endured a global pandemic, an economic collapse, and a deadly winter storm,” Talarico said in a tweet. “They held our communities together through these historic crises.”
In a series of tweets about the new bill, the former middle school teacher mentioned his own experience in the field, saying “I struggled to make ends meet. My coworkers drove Ubers at night and sold their blood plasma for extra money.”
When I was a public school teacher, I struggled to make ends meet.
My coworkers drove Ubers at night and sold their blood plasma for extra money.
— James Talarico (@jamestalarico) March 11, 2021
According to Talarico, teacher salaries in Texas are $5,700 behind the national average. Citing the Texas State Teachers Association, the state representative said 40% of Texas teachers work another job during the school year.
He also said the reason behind the bill is to also retain teachers throughout the state.
“This is not just about fairness. It’s about recruiting and retaining the best talent in our classrooms,” Talarico tweeted. “We’re losing 45% of our teachers in the first five years. And that was before the pandemic. I left the classroom because I knew I could never support a family on my salary.”
According to Talarico, the proposed bill would account for inflation adjustment and increase.