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Trace: at MMR_Render.Press_Release.Page_Load(Object sender, EventArgs e) House Passes Villarreal Amendment for Local Teacher Incentives - News from Mike - Representative Mike Villarreal - District 123 San Antonio

House Passes Villarreal Amendment for Local Teacher Incentives

Friday, April 17, 2009

 

Budget Includes Villarreal Provisions on Education, Health Care, and Ethics
 
Austin - Tonight the House of Representatives voted 146-0 in favor of Rep. Mike Villarreal's budget amendment to transfer teacher incentive funds from state programs to local school district programs.  The amendment will provide an additional $342 million to school districts through the state's public education funding formulas.  The provision directs school districts to use the funding to recruit and retain highly-qualified teachers for hard-to-staff schools or subject areas, such as math and science, and improve teacher effectiveness through mentoring and training.
 
"This investment will allow local schools to attract and keep the teachers they need to make sure children from all backgrounds succeed," explained Rep. Villarreal. A report by The Education Trust entitled, "Their FAIR Share: How Texas-Sized Gaps in Teacher Quality Shortchange Low-Income and Minority Students," found that, "Year after year, Hispanic, African-American and low-income students are less likely to be assigned to teachers who know their subject matter, less likely to be in classrooms with experienced teachers and less likely to attend schools with a stable teaching force."
 
The amendment transfers funding to districts from the DATE and TEEG teacher incentive programs run by the Texas Education Agency.  Many districts have been reluctant to participate in those programs because they link teacher incentives to student test scores and do not ensure long-term funding. The amendment would allow districts to continue DATE and TEEG or design their own programs to meet local needs.  Funding would be guaranteed through the state's formula funding system.  A copy of the amendment is available on the Legislature's website: http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/81R/amendments/faspdf/SB00001H290.PDF.
 
In addition to providing school districts with funding for teacher incentives and mentoring, Rep. Villarreal included several other provisions in the budget.  During today's state budget debate, he attached amendments to:
 
?        Promote access to candidates' financial reports on the Texas Ethics Commission website;
?        Require the Health and Human Services Commission to end the delay in investing in health care services for low-income Texas children as directed by the Frew v. Hawkins lawsuit; and
?        Provide schools with additional federal stimulus dollars if funds are made available from the Available School Fund.
 
Additionally, the House version of the budget includes a $224 million increase in TEXAS Grants funding compared to the original base budget.  The Senate version of the budget increases funding for TEXAS Grants, the state's primary financial aid program for low-income college students, by $86 million.  As a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, Rep. Villarreal presented the Subcommittee with research showing the positive impact of TEXAS Grants on student success and worked successfully to achieve the increase in the program's funding. 
 
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