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Carolyn Salter
Texas House District 8






Additional Information

Candidate Survey Responses


1. If elected, what are your top priorities for public education?

Increase per-student funding, increase teacher pay, both base pay and stipends for additional qualifications, fight vouchers that would divert resources from public schools. Texas is 44th in the nation. We should be investing in students and educators, not driving professionals out of the field.

2. Voucher programs take many forms (tax credits, scholarships, education savings accounts, etc.) and are either universal or aimed at specific subpopulations (special education students, low-income students, students attending schools with poor A-F accountability ratings, etc.). Would you vote to create a voucher program of any type to pay for students to attend non-public K-12 schools, such as private or home schools?

No, not ever. Public school resources should not be eroded. The proposed Abbott programs had no accountability and no significant standards while public schools have high levels of accountability.

3. In 2023, the Texas Legislature passed House Bill (HB) 3 requiring a number of new school safety measures. However, many believe the Legislature did not adequately increase funding to cover the cost of the mandates in HB 3 or other locally adopted school safety measures. How would you work to make schools safer and ensure such initiatives are properly funded?

This "safety initiative" was another mostly unfunded mandate that should be funded entirely by the legislative appropriation process, not taking money from student and teacher resources. I doubt there are adequate resources in the state for every campus to institute many of the measures even if full funding were available, at least the contract security personnel portion.

4. Despite a record-breaking surplus of $38 billion during the 2023 legislative session, school funding formulas were not increased to keep pace with inflation since they were last adjusted in 2019. Do you believe Texas public schools should receive additional funding? If so, how should the state pay for it?

Texas is in the bottom 10 states for school funding. How can we achieve excellence in education if we hire teachers at low wages and forcing them to buy student supplies out of their own pockets? The surplus is a good way to start. It would certainly provide a stopgap to a permanent solution. There is a significant return on investment for the future of work and the community at large when society invests in its students and cares for their teachers. We pay a steeper price if we skimp on education.

5. Texas has faced growing teacher shortages in recent years, with many schools hiring uncertified teachers to fill the gaps. How would you work to ensure Texas public schools have an adequate number of trained and certified teachers?

Better starting salaries, affordable, possibly subsidized, college degrees for educators, stable retirement pay, ample professional development opportunities and provide ways to educate disruptive students away from the more civil student body.and provide mental health services on school campuses.

6. Inadequate compensation hampers the recruitment and retention of high-quality educators. Do you support a state-funded across-the-board pay raise for all Texas educators?


7. The high cost of health insurance available to educators is a significant factor decreasing their take-home pay. How would you address the challenge of rising health care costs facing Texas educators and ensure access to affordable health care?

I am a physician and that is a tough one. The state pays $75 and the district pays $150 with the teacher paying the balance to the TRS insurance system which has been an HMO model for many years now. If your doctor or NP is not in network, there is no coverage. HMOs are the most limited plans. Legislation requiring higher levels of coverage can provide more options for teachers but that does not address cost. Allowing teachers to participate in the state employees' insurance plan should be considered. The state covering more cost, federalizing insurance (Medicare for All), direct payment models allowed by HSAs and FSAs are potential solutions but the latter two would require Congressional action. There is no hard and fast solution, especially in rural areas.

8. What do you feel is the proper role of standardized testing in the Texas public education system? For instance, should student test scores be used as a metric in determining teacher pay, school accountability ratings, evaluating teachers, measuring student progress, etc.?

My mother was a high school and middle school counselor who did all the testing for much of her career and I know she was no fan. Testing helps students ascertain where they stand in terms of their mastery of subject knowledge versus their peers which is important in college acceptance, scholarships, etc. but there are too many variables impacting individual student performance to hold teachers entirely accountable for test performance. Teachers, as professionals, must have some sort of evaluation system for performance and job effectiveness, but I feel the educational professionals should determine that, not the legislature. I hate it when they legislate medical care for me. I am sure teachers feel the same. My mom did.

9. In your opinion, what is the proper balance between accommodating an individual parent’s or student’s wishes and the taxpaying community’s interest in directing and maintaining an optimal educational environment for the student population as a whole?

Part of the public education process is learning to be civil and adapting to the community at large. I never asked for special consideration for my son (now 38) when he had a learning disablity, only to be informed of how I could help him at home to prepare and be notified early of problems. I do not understand the question entirely because I have not witnessed this conflict personally. It would depend on the issue at hand. Students need an education and society needs them to have a high-quality education. I think compromise at the local level is best and legislating for all situations is ill-advised. Without a deep understanding of the issue, I cannot meaningfully answer this question. I would expect reasonable accommodations to be made for reasonable requests and I believe most teachers make those modifications anyway.

10. Do you believe the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) should be maintained as a traditional defined-benefit pension plan for all future, current, and retired educators, or do you support converting TRS to a defined-contribution structure that is more like a 401(k) plan, in which future benefits are not guaranteed?

Keep the pension system, not the defined contribution. It is too unstable.

11. State law allows educators and other public employees to voluntarily choose to join professional associations such as ATPE and have membership dues deducted from their paychecks at no cost to taxpayers. Do you support or oppose letting all public employees continue to exercise this right?


Additional Comments from Candidate on Survey


I am the product of public schools. My mother was a speech and English teacher until she got her Masters Degree when I was 13. Thankfully, she was my high school counselor and not my English teacher. She was very upset at Texas over standardized testing in the 80's (Pine Tree HS and White Oak Middle School). I went to medical school at UT Southwestern Dallas. I have been an educator at the University of New Mexico at the graduate level. My son graduated from Palestine High in 2003. I will have one more Rotary Exchange student in March, so I will again interact as a parent with the PISD system. I support teachers wholeheartedly. Education is my heritage and schools should still be the beating heart of every community.