Teachers unions in Texas have reportedly collected more than $115 million from teachers, support staff and other school workers in the last decade alone.
While the reported total is at least $115.5 million, the number may be closer to $230 million, according to the Texas Monitor Wednesday.
Investigative reporters at the Monitor examined public record requests sent to every Texas school district, including charter schools in hopes of compiling a comprehensive list of the number of payroll deductions sent to any unions or associations between 2010 and 2016.
While the team sent letters to 1,217 school districts in the Lone Star state, just 636 districts responded to the request by the deadline. The $115.5 million figure represents the total amount of dues collected between 2010 and 2016 from the 636 schools that responded.
The team only counted dues collected for the four largest teachers unions in Texas. According to the report, the Association of Texas Professional Educators collected $35.2 million, the Texas State Teachers Association collected $32.4 million, the Texas American Federation of Teachers collected $31.0 million; and the Texas Classroom Teachers Association collected $16.9 million.
The reported figures account for 348,570 full-time employees at the 636 schools that complied with the request by the deadline. According to the Monitor, that is just over half of the state’s total number of employees working inside a school district.
The new report may add an additional talking point for Republican legislators looking to roll back the power of the state to collect union dues from public employees.
The Texas Senate voted July 25 to give initial approval to a bill that would prohibit some public employees, including teachers, from using payroll deductions to pay their union dues.
Texas is one of 28 “right to work” states, which empowers employees to make the decision on whether or not to pay union dues. Workers must “opt in” to have membership dues pulled from their paychecks.
The Monitor claims that the new analysis is the first report to provide detailed numbers on how much money Texas teachers unions are raking in.
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