Gov. Greg Abbott has declared war on 16 rural Republicans who helped crush his school vouchers proposal. By doing so, he has also taken on 16 rural communities that affirm vouchers will destroy their already struggling public school system.
“It astonishes me how so many Texans are against vouchers, but our Governor, Lt. Governor, and Senate are more worried about appeasing their wealthy campaign donors who want vouchers for obvious reasons,” Chad Gee, Superintendent of Kennedale ISD, told RA News. “So much for what the public wants as opposed to the wealthy and politically connected. The House is trying to fight for the public sector and not the private sector.”
Abbott raised a record $19 million over the last six months – money he intends to use towards ousting anti-school voucher House Republicans. His campaign manager Kim Synder said in a statement
“With the primary elections just around the corner, Governor Abbott has the resources needed to back strong conservative candidates who support his bold agenda to keep Texas the greatest state in the nation, including expanding school choice for all Texas families and students,” Abbott campaign manager Kim Snyder said in a statement.
While Abbott hangs $19 million over rural Republican heads, Texas public schools continue to be severely underfunded.
Teacher salaries in Texas trail the national average by about $6,000, according to the most recent figures from the National Education Association labor union. In addition, teacher wages have essentially stagnated over the past decade when adjusted for inflation, according to a report released last April by the Texas American Federation of Teachers Union and the left-leaning think tank Every Texan.
“Our message to lawmakers has been clear: the state has significant revenue available to invest in public education, but its resources are not endless. All available resources should be prioritized toward public education so that the public schools which serve more than 90% of Texas students are funded at a sustainable level,” Superintendent of Plano ISD, Dr. Theresa Williams, told RA News.
“Lawmakers should not be distracted by special interests pushing private school subsidies that could cost up to $8 billion per year, particularly when the provision of vouchers is not even close to the most important education issue in the eyes of voters.”
What could $19 million be used for?
Let’s break down how a $19 million budget allocation could potentially impact Texas teachers and additional professional staff members in Texas, assuming an average annual salary of $58,890 for a K-12 teacher.
With a $19 million budget, you could:
– Hire 323 K-12 teachers;
– Give a raise of $7,507 to approximately 2,531 K-12 teachers, to match the national teacher average which is $66,4K per year;
– Hire 394 security guards, assuming an average annual salary of $48,214;
– Potentially provide 6.66 million free school lunches, assuming the cost is $2.85 ( if the household did not qualify for free or reduced-priced benefits).
What else do you think $19 million could be used for?