Good news from the stimulus: Texas teachers get a raise

WASHINGTON — The Texas Democratic congressional delegation, led by Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Waco, announced Friday that all Texas public school teachers will receive a minimum pay raise of $800 thanks to $2 billion awarded to the state by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan under the federal stimulus law.

“This is great news for Texas teachers,” said Edwards, standing in front of the U.S. Capitol with a large check made out to Texas teachers. “These funds will not only give Texas public school teachers a much-deserved pay raise, it will save jobs, and help school districts budget for the upcoming school year.”

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan approved $2 billion for Texas’s application for Part 1 of state stimulus funds. The funding will cover the $800 pay raise for Texas teachers as well as $300 million for textbooks.

“The $2 billion Texas will receive today is part of the single largest boost in education funding in recent history,” said Duncan in a statement.

Gov. Rick Perry, who refused $555 million in federal unemployment funds from the stimulus law, welcomed the $2 billion for teachers.

“I’m pleased that the U.S. Department of Education has approved Texas’ application for State Fiscal Stabilization Funds, which will help increase public school funding, providing each school a minimum additional $120 per student.”

U.S. Texas Democrats were eager to credit the Obama Administration, which has been criticized for the slow pace of economic recovery from stimulus funding.

“I am proud that I voted for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, landmark legislation that addresses the critical needs in our national education system,” said Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Dallas.

Rep. Rubén Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, said, “These historic federal investments made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will help provide relief to our local school systems and make certain that they continue to increase access to a high quality education for all students.”