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Week 8: Stipends are not bonuses or the raise you were promised

We are over halfway through the session and here’s what you need to know. 

Legislators have praised the bills to address the concerns you brought to us over unfair workloads, discipline, and safety. These bills were filled by your union! 

Both SB 205, which safeguards teacher’s right to a reasonable workload and fair compensation, and SB 213, which provides adequate time for support personnel to heal from injury while helping students, passed through the Senate and head to the House! ✅HB 322 passed out of Senate Education and will be heard on Senate floor, protecting teacher’s right to teach free from distraction.

However, several bills have also passed through the Labor Committee which would take away your voice and right of your union to advocate on your behalf. These bills are clearly aimed at stopping us from taking a civil, principled stand against current anti-public education and anti-public services legislation. 

Take action now and tell your lawmakers how these bills impact YOU.


  • ACT NOW: HB 322 protects teacher’s rights to teach free from distraction. Click here to add your signature to a pre-written letter to lawmakers urging them to VOTE in favor of HB 322.
  • 🚨ACT NOW:  Click here to add your signature to a pre-written letter to Senators to SEND THE MFP BACK TO BESE and demand the pay raise teachers and staff deserve
  • 🚨ACT NOW: Click here to add your signature to a letter to your lawmakers urging them to take action against harmful legislation aimed at silencing educator’s voices
  • Look out for more information on activation for a Lobby Day at the Capitol on May 15th.

Stipends are not bonuses or the raise you were promised

There is a lot of information circulating that misconstrues teacher’s pay in the budget. Here are the facts. 

  • This year, teachers received $2,000 stipends and support staff received $1,000 stipends.
  • We were promised a permanent raise would be included in the MFP this year.
  • Not only does the MFP not include a permanent raise, but the amount of differential compensation teachers will receive next year is less than this year.
  • Legislative leaders have said they want to give local systems the freedom to determine who will receive stipends, meaning not every teacher is guaranteed this income. 
  • Across the board, teachers will bring home less compensation next year than they will this year. 
  • Stipends are not bonuses and they are not the permanent raise that was promised.

On Thursday, the Revenue Estimating Committee will recognize additional revenue. Again we ask, why isn’t a teacher pay raise on the table?


🚨ACT NOW:  Click here to add your signature to a pre-written letter to Senators to SEND THE MFP BACK TO BESE and demand the pay raise teachers and staff deserve. 

The fight forward 

Discipline & Safety

SB 213 passed unanimously off the Senate Floor last week and heads to the House! We want to commend Senator Jenkins for his work in ensuring the health and wellbeing of our paraprofessionals who are looking out for our students day in and day out.

This bill was filed by your unions to provide for secure and adequate time to heal from injury for support personnel who are injured while helping students.

✅HB 322 passed out of Senate Education and will be heard on Senate floor, protecting teacher’s right to teach free from distraction, so that the children in the class have the opportunity to learn.

HB 322 is a response to the challenges teachers told LFT they face in the classrooms–the same challenges that impact teacher shortages and retention.

In a recent LFT survey, 81% of teachers reported that more than 10% of instructional time was lost addressing student behavior.

  • HB 322 allows teachers to teach without interruptions.
  • HB 322 prohibits a principal or administrator from retaliating against teachers for exercising the right to remove a student who disrupts the classroom setting.
  • HB 322 addresses the problem of a student whose behavior prevents the other students from learning.

This bill serves as a proactive measure to help children receive the help they need while maintaining a productive classroom environment. When a student’s behavior reaches a point where it impedes the safety or learning process for all students, teachers must have the authority to take appropriate action and have the support of administration and parents to do so. 

🚨ACT NOW!  Click here to add your signature to a pre-written letter to lawmakers or edit it to share your experience urging them to VOTE in favor of your right to teach free from distraction. 


SB 207 which prohibits cell phones at school and can help to reduce distractions and improve the learning experience, passed through the Senate and awaits the House. 


SB 205 passed out Senate and will head to the House. This bill was filed by your unions to provide a lifeline for teachers, safeguarding your rights to a reasonable workload and fair compensation for your hard work.

There are several bills that attempt to take away some of the burden on teachers, however LFT is concerned that they may fall short of really reducing the workload. 

  • ⚠️ HB 320 LFT supports any effort to lessen workload and commends Rep. Owen for his proactive approach. However, this bill allows BESE to undo changes and to impose additional requirements and will not completely offset the required training or curriculum mandates. Other legislative instruments will add back many of the training and curriculum requirements this bill removed. 
  • ⚠️ HB 115 Removes instructional requirements in grades K-3 for: Child assault and awareness prevention, litter prevention, mental health, water safety, internet and cell phone safety, eating disorder, substance abuse, and topics related to freedom for “Celebrate Freedom Week”.
  • HB 647 requires that any new instructional requirement added to instruction time would have to be offset by the elimination of a requirement of equal instructional time. We commend Rep. Romero for his efforts to alleviate the current workload. LFT will monitor this bill to ensure no additional amendments are added.
  • ⚠️ HB 336 Requires that the current dyslexia screening use a new dyslexia screening computer software program to be used in place of the current assessment. Teachers who are required to screen students will have to take additional professional development for the new assessment.

The fight back

Right now, the legislature is moving a bundle of bills through the state House and Senate that will hurt public education in the state for years to come. They threaten the very institution of public education, and the ability of teachers to help students learn. 

Unions, like LFT, represent the interests of teachers and support staff who dedicate their professional lives to the children of the state. Your unions amplify your voice and support teachers and support staff in the areas that impact you the most. These bills could potentially take away the ability of your unions to advocate on your behalf–effectively stripping away your freedom and voice. 

  • ❌The constitutional convention bill is slated for floor debate in the full House on TuesdayFunding for public schools, fair distribution of state funds among districts, and protections for Medicaid and public employees' retirement security are all at risk.
  • Committee hearings on Thursday: HB 523 and HB 919 recertification & dues deduction attacks, will be heard in Labor committee on Thursday. The challenging timing for these two bills to move through the entire legislative process is on our side, but we are continuing to watch closely. 
  • HB 571 prohibiting release time for union activities/advocacy passed with just enough votes needed after voting irregularities: Voting Irregularities Lead to Passage of Bill Targeting Gov’t Employee Unions”  
  • There is a possible Senate hearing on Monday for HB  956–secret ballot elections–which passed the House last week.  
  • Floor debate on Tuesday: HB 572, collective bargaining attacks, was returned to the calendar this week. Requires a 2/3 vote to pass. 
  • Floor debate is expected on Wednesday for HB 712. Authorization/reauthorization was amended in the House Labor Committee last Wednesday to add language to prohibit collective bargaining, but the language then later was removed.

🚨ACT NOW: Click here to add your signature to a letter to your lawmakers urging them to take action against this harmful legislation aimed at silencing educator’s voices. 

❌Voucher Programs: Unanswered questions and lack of accountability

Heavily amended, SB 313 passed Senate Finance last week. In its original version, the bill would have made vouchers universally available to all families through state funding, funneling public dollars away from public education. It was estimated at $260 million annually, while PAR put that number closer to $520 million. 

Now, before making a decision, a comprehensive survey of K-12 schools will be conducted. This survey would inform the creation of a voucher program by BESE. While the delay does postpone a decision on the amount of money to be allocated for ESAs, we still have a lot of unanswered questions and concerns over the lack of accountability. Accountability measures, such as standardized testing for students using ESA funds and grading schools based on performance, have been proposed but faced opposition. The Senate (SB 313) and House (HB 745) each have their versions of the bill.

LFT is keeping an eye on these bills and will update you with changes. 

High Dosage Tutoring–at what cost?

While LFT supports the additional help that tutoring provides, it should not be put ahead of the teachers who are actually responsible for the gains Supt. Brumley continues to tout. Based on usage data from the first implementation year of the Steve Carter Literacy Program, less than 0.8% of eligible students are expected to request participation.

  • ⚠️HB 267 would require public schools to provide three numeracy assessments that measure student development which is expected to be added to teacher’s existing duties requiring additional time and training. 
  • ⚠️ SB 288 Proposed legislation amends existing law to require expanded academic support be offered to eligible students in K-5 grade who fail to achieve mastery in statewide assessments in reading and math in the previous academic year. The bill requires these students to be taught by a highly effective teacher. If a highly effective teacher is not available, the student will receive high dosage tutoring provided by classroom teachers with a student ratio of 4:1, by a staff member employed full or part time, an external tutoring provider in person or virtually, or AI tutoring support. The program is estimated to cost $30m of permanent funding included in the proposed MFP. LFT is concerned that if not certified teachers are available, teachers and staff will have additional duties added to meet the proposed tutoring mandate. Due to the costs of this legislation, the bill was amended and passed out of Senate Finance and will be heard by the full Senate in anticipation of the projected additional revenue by Revenue Estimating Committee on May 9th.

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