Teachers head to Austin for public education rally

Teachers from across Texas will travel to Austin and wear red on the steps of the state capitol Monday. Education organizations call it a rally for public education.

The upcoming special legislative session gives teachers from North Texas and across the state a chance to make their voices heard.

Among the issues they will be addressing is Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan to raise pay for teachers by at least $1,000 a year. Most applaud the idea, but say they are concerned because the governor did not offer any additional state funding to pay for it.

Local school boards will have to find a way to come up with the money and many teachers worry that will mean cuts in other areas.

The most contentious issue could be the debate over property tax reform. The teachers are worried about how that will affect the amount of money the state can send to individual school districts. They don’t want to see a decrease in school funding.

Teachers are concerned about pensions that haven seen a cost-of-living increase for retired teachers in 16 years plus higher costs for their health insurance.

There’s also opposition to vouchers for private school tuition. And there’s a bill supported by Abbott that would prevent schools from deducting union dues from teacher paychecks.

The rally in Austin is set for 1:30 p.m. on the southern steps of the Texas Capitol.