AUSTIN, Texas – AUSTin, Texas, June 12, 2019 – A tragedy of unprecedented proportions has unfolded in Texas schools, and a state official said the state is still waiting to know how many students will die in the next month.
“We don’t know the total number of students that will be killed in the upcoming months, and we don’t even know how much,” Texas State Senator Wendy Davis said during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Thursday.
Davis, who is sponsoring legislation to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, said she and fellow lawmakers are focused on raising the minimum wage, and she’s pushing to add an additional $2 million for education in the state.
In a statement, the Department of Education said it has been in contact with local governments to help plan and coordinate the response.
The department said it’s working with state officials to assess the impact of the storm and its aftermath.
“The department is working closely with local officials to ensure resources are available to students and their families and to ensure that the resources are in place to help students and families get through the storm,” the statement said.
In the past year, Texas has seen two school shootings, and two high school shootings.
The state is among the nation’s worst for teacher safety, with about 50,000 teachers across the state facing criminal charges or termination, according to a report from the American Association of University Professors.
The report also noted that many schools have been shuttered.
A study released by the American Federation of Teachers found that more than a third of teachers have lost their jobs and many are forced to take unpaid leave, and the majority are under the age of 45.
Davis, who represents the state, has proposed a $2.5 million package for the education department.
It would provide $1 million for school districts and other school organizations to hire emergency personnel to provide protection and to support students in the event of an emergency, according the statement.
The bill also would help school districts to hire extra security guards, increase the size of the staff and hire additional counselors and support staff.
Davis said the bill would help schools save money in the long run.
“It is my hope that by increasing our response to the storm, we can reduce the cost of schools and our economy,” she said.