Dallas ISD Superintendent Declares State of Emergency on School Wages

Dallas School District in Distress over Teacher Pay

In an urgent news release on May Day, the Dallas Independent School District (ISD) along with several other North Texas school districts, sounded the alarm bell over teacher pay. Officials are urging parents, educators and supporters to demand action from state legislators, as funding for public schools is found to be lacking.

Time is of the essence, as the regular legislative session ends on May 29. Therefore, Dallas ISD is pushing lawmakers to allocate more of the state’s record $32.7 billion surplus to public education. The appeal is resonating with around 12 districts in the North Texas area, including the Mesquite, Richardson, Frisco and Plano ISD’s.

During a news conference, Dallas ISD Superintendent, Stephanie Elizalde, stated her concerns over the inadequate allocation of additional funds this year for public education, which will not be sufficient to increase pay significantly for teachers and staff. Hence sending a “distress call” to advocates and supporters for swift action.

Elizalde further posted her entreaty on social media on the afternoon of May Day, declaring a state of emergency because state lawmakers’ budget negotiations would leave public schools $7 billion short of what’s needed to keep up with inflation. Inflation has increased by 17% in Texas from June 2019 to February 2023, so considering inflation, current funds in schools are barely meeting 2014 levels.

Moreover, while expenses such as utilities, fuel and insurance have sharply risen, the state is facing a teacher and staff shortage. Certain lawmakers have taken steps to make such pay increases a reality through HB 100, which passed the Texas House last week. HB 100 proposes that school districts receive more state funding to improve teacher salaries and cover education costs.

Sadly, some representatives are not supportive of paying teachers and staff more. In an April debate, State Representative Jared Patterson, a Frisco Republican, mocked educator raises, calling for a complete shift in educational priorities. Nevertheless, with this crisis demanding urgent attention, communities and individuals should continue to advocate for and support better educational funding, especially for those who serve the next generation.

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