Spring 2024 ATPE News

Page 16

FED UP? Whether the March primaries result in a Legislature that seeks to build up public schools instead of tear them down hinges on how many educators and allies show up to vote. BY KATE JOHANNS



e spent most of 2023 in a legislative session. Between the 140-day regular session and four special sessions, the 88th Legislature was open for business for 246 days, or just over two-thirds of the year. And throughout 2023, we repeatedly heard how the Legislature had a historic surplus on its hands—nearly $33 billion when the state comptroller issued the Biennial Revenue Estimate in January 2023. The conditions were ripe for lawmakers to address ongoing funding issues in public education, such as special education; fully fund new school safety measures passed by the Legislature in response to horrific school shootings, including placing an armed security officer on every campus; and address educator recruitment and retention challenges with a pay raise. But none of that happened.

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