WACO, Texas – State Senator Larry Taylor spoke at the State of Public Education luncheon today to update McLennan County education leaders on House Bill 3.

He said the main goal of the bill is to close the large economic gap in education.

State Senator Taylor said 27% of kids who are not economically challenged are college or career ready. For those who are at an economic disadvantage, only 7% are college or career ready.

“Now, let me tell you why that’s scary,” Sen. Taylor said. “The economically disadvantaged students today is now the largest demographic of our public schools. It’s 60% of our students.”

And – the district eleven senator says, that’s the fastest growing demographic.

“Those who don’t have resources are far outnumbered from those who do, and they’re falling far behind,” Sen. Taylor said.

House Bill 3 included $11.5 billion for public education.

About $5 billion of that was to lower property taxes, and $6.5 billion to increase teacher pay.

“If you want your brightest and best to help raise the next generation, you’ve got to recognize the value they bring.”

He says they increased average compensation by $4,000 a year. They’re also providing incentives for the best teachers, and those who go to more challenging campuses.

“You don’t want to see flat, you want to see the ability to grow,” Sen. Taylor said.

Sen. Taylor believes increasing pay will make teaching an option college students choose.

Also, a college career military readiness bonus gives more money to schools per student, based on the student.

And, the state will fund an additional 30 days of school for kids who are behind.

Lastly, Pre-K for low income students will be available so they are prepared when they go to first grade.

“So we funded full day Pre-K for low income students,” Sen. Taylor said. “They can come in and have full funded Pre-K. Quality Pre-K, these aren’t daycares.”