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Teachers react to possibility of six-figure salaries in Texas

The average Texas teacher makes about $52,000 a year. That puts Texas in the middle of the state rankings on teacher salaries. (CBS Austin)

Six-figure salaries are being dangled in front of teachers as they return to their classrooms. Governor Greg Abbott thinks higher pay is a possibility, at least for the best educators. On Tuesday, he took his ideas to Dallas for another roundtable discussion on improving education.

The average Texas teacher makes about $52,000 a year. That puts Texas in the middle of the state rankings on teacher salaries. Governor Abbott thinks it's time Texas quit being average and made teacher pay a bigger priority.

Gavin Tabone is the kind of teacher who works hard to make coming to school fun. His job is richly rewarding in every way except financially.

“I don't think teachers do it for the money. I think teachers teach because they love working with kids. But I also think it's nice to feel appreciated,” said Tabone, who is the music teacher and choir director at Barton Hills Elementary School.

CBS Austin asked Tabone how he would feel if he was appreciated to the tune of $100,000.

“Wow! That would be amazing,” said Tabone.

Governor Abbott is holding roundtable discussions across Texas this week and increasing teacher pay is the hot topic.

“We want to structure a compensation plan that will put the very best educators on a pathway to earning a six-figure salary,” said Governor Abbott at the first roundtable discussion in New Braunfels.

The superintendent for the Austin Independent School District (AISD) knows higher pay is the key to retaining teachers. AISD has about 6,000 educators. Each year the district is forced to replace around 700 of them.

“So that's just the way it's been here in the Austin school district. Keeping great teachers and attracting new great teachers is important to us,” said Paul Cruz, AISD Superintendent.

So far no one has done the math on how to pay for six-figure salaries for Texas teachers. But some are just glad the school year is starting with the possibility.

“I'm glad that we have unions fighting for us and I'm glad it's coming up in the legislature. That makes me feel pretty good,” said Tabone.

During these statewide brainstorming session, Governor Abbott is discussing a wide range of ideas to improve education in Texas. It won't be until January, when the legislature meets, that teachers will see what sticks.

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