Liberty-Eylau ISD plans to put more money in teachers’ pockets through early implementation of a new Texas Education Agency Teacher Incentive Allotment.
House Bill 3, the sweeping school finance bill passed during the 86th Texas Legislature, includes funding for an incentive program to reward effective teachers. While state funding for the program begins after a preliminary data collection year, LEISD will locally fund a pilot version of the program to increase teacher pay more quickly beginning in the 2020-2021 school year.
“This program is going to give districts a chance to recognize and reward our most effective teachers in the best way possible- paying them more,” LEISD Superintendent Ronnie Thompson said. “We have committed to starting this now, locally so that we are prepared to ramp it up once more funding arrives from the state.”
Under the TIA program, teachers are designated as recognized, exemplary, or master teachers. Those designations, as well as school demographics mean teachers can potentially earn up to $32,000 in extra pay annually.
Schools are categorized as either rural, or non-rural and in 1 of 6 tiers based on students’ socioeconomic status. A rural school with a higher percentage of students from low socioeconomic status is eligible for more money. Liberty-Eylau Middle School is categorized as a rural school under the program while the Early Childhood Center, Elementary, and High Schools are non-rural.
The TIA program allows schools to develop their own evaluation system that must then be approved by the state before implementation. During the 2020-2021 school year, LEISD will gather data to help create an equitable evaluation tool.
When developing the program TEA said, “In addition to helping attract and keep their effective educators in the classroom, public schools implementing these systems would be able to identify their more effective educators and then provide incentives for them to teach at their most challenged campuses, increasing the equitable distribution of effective educators.”
State leaders cited low interest from students in education careers and data showing that overwhelming numbers of teachers leaving the profession in the first five years as reasons to create a program to recruit and retain quality teachers.
“We know that the greatest single measure of student success is the quality of the teacher in the classroom,” Thompson said. “We know we have incredible teachers. This allows us to demonstrate that value in a very real way.”
An overview of the Teacher Incentive Program can be found at https://tea.texas.gov/sites/default/files/HB3-Video-Series-Teacher-Incentive-Allotment.pdf