Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick wants to spend $700 million annually in Texas lottery revenue on bonuses for veteran teachers.
The leader of the Texas Senate said Thursday that the lottery raises about $1 billion yearly for education.
A proposed amendment to the Texas Constitution that he'll support during the upcoming special legislative session would force school districts to use most of that on pay bumps for teachers with at least six years of experience and retirees with 20 or more years' experience.
Education is tied to several issues outlined by Gov. Greg Abbott when he called the special session last month.
Among Abbott's 20 priorities for the special session are $1,000 raises for teachers, administrative flexibility in teacher hiring and retention, school finance reform and school choice for special needs students.
Following Patrick’s press conference Thursday, Abbott released the following statement:
“I applaud Lt. Governor Patrick and the Texas Senate for their intention to act swiftly and pass all of my special session agenda items,” said Governor Abbott. “My office has been working with lawmakers in both the Senate and House these past six weeks, and if these items do not get passed, it will be for lack of will, not for lack of time. I thank the Senate for their commitment to finish the people’s business, and I look forward to working with both the House and Senate to get these bills to my desk.”
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Patrick also dismissed as a "Ponzi scheme" a stalled plan seeking $1.6 billion extra for schools championed by fellow Republican and Texas House Speaker Joe Straus.
The special session, which begins Tuesday, will last for 30 days. Legislators don't have to approve what is on the governor's agenda, but Abbott has the option to continue to call lawmakers back and only he can decide the topics of a special session.