NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas -- As the school year kicks off, Gov. Greg Abbott is trying to gauge how to improve Texas schools.
Monday, he heard from teachers and administrators of Comal ISD in New Braunfels.
They focused on topics like school safety, special education, and how to recruit the best teachers and ways to keep them in the classroom. The roundtable discussion largely targeted the issues that Texas schools are facing regarding finances.
Gov. Abbott addressed that the most recent Supreme Court ruling "upheld" the school finance system.
"Even though the Supreme Court did not strike down the school finance system as it currently exists as being unconstitutional. It did say that the way the school finance system is structured is flawed, is broken, is unacceptable," said Gov. Abbott.
The governor said he is speaking with teachers to hammer out ideas and get feedback that can advance the future of the school system.
"This isn't something that we sit in some ivory tower and try to hammer out ourselves. We can only advance these ideas if we get feedback from those who are on the frontlines of education," said Gov. Abbott.
One proposal is merit-based pay raises for teachers. The governor wants to structure a compensation plan to put the best educators on a pathway to earning six figures.
"I'm talking about strategies where the state will be providing the money, not robbing Peter to pay Paul, not putting additional burden on homeowners by increased taxes. The way that we solve the school finance riddle is by the state finding smart ways to provide more funding for schools that achieve the greatest outcomes,” said Gov. Abbott.
Brittney Lanehart, a teacher at Smithson Valley High School, said she feels teachers can be undervalued financially.
"I don't think there has to be a huge jump, I think what teachers are looking for, [is] we want to be able to take the money issue off the table. I don't think teachers are looking to be exceptionally wealthy," Lanehart said.
She said if you ask doctors or engineers why they didn't go into education, a lot of people would say that financially it wouldn't be viable for the long run.
"We don't need people to be thinking, 'Can I afford this when I'm 45 with a family?' So if we can take that off the table then we can really focus in on what we do best and that's becoming master teachers," Lanehart said.
Both Lanehart and Gov. Abbott think more compensation would keep more teachers in the business.
"We believe that teachers are both under under-compensated but also not rewarded in a way that categorizes it as a true profession. Being an educator is a calling. However, we want to advance that calling into a profession," Abbott said.
These roundtable discussions will continue at a girl’s preparatory school in Dallas on Tuesday.