New School Year, New Laws: Compensation Update
Texas Legislature Educator Compensation | Benefits
Date Posted: 10/21/2019 | Author: Andrea Chevalier
Welcome to our final blog post in ATPE's "New School Year, New Laws" blog series for Teach the Vote. In last week's post, we summarized new laws that will impact charter schools. This week, we will investigate how the changes to funding and compensation in House Bill (HB) 3 are being implemented in several school districts across the state.
HB 3 by Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Kingwood), the major school finance bill passed earlier this year, included some important provisions aimed at increasing compensation for many educators. More specifically, lawmakers required that school districts use 30% of their increase in funding under the bill to increase compensation for full-time district employees, excluding administrators. Of that dollar amount, 75% must be spent on compensation for full-time, certified teachers, librarians, nurses, and counselors. The other 25% can be used to improve compensation for other full-time employees. HB 3 also specifies that there should be a prioritization for teachers, librarians, nurses, and counselors with more than five years of experience, but the bill largely leaves this open for interpretation at the local level.
The combination of differences in how much additional funding each district gets and the flexibility districts have to create unique compensation packages makes it very important for us to gain a "lay of the land" in our current post-HB 3 environment. In this post we have summarized what some districts are doing by gathering news articles and information from district websites. The charts below break down some of dollar figures and percentages by which the districts shown are increasing educator compensation as a result of HB 3.
Lubbock-Cooper ISD, Region 17:
|Up to 5 yrs. of exp. (teachers)||5.68%, avg.|
|6-25 yrs. of exp. (teachers)||8.71%, avg.|
|All other employees||3%|
|Beginning teacher salary||Increased to $40,000|
With a 2018-19 average teaching salary of just over $45,000, we estimate that the LCISD's average pay raise of 8.08% is about $3,640.
Klein ISD, Region 4:
|Up to 5 yrs. of exp. (teachers, counselors, librarians, and nurses)||5.25% ($4,950)|
|6+ yrs. of exp. (teachers, counselors, librarians, and nurses)||5.5% ($5,050)|
|All other employees||4%|
|Beginning teacher salary||Increased from $52,600 to $55,500|
|Healthcare||$300 one-time payment for eligible, full-time employees who are returning|
Klein ISD will also provide a retention incentive to teachers, counselors, librarians, and nurses who were employed in the district on May 31 of the previous year and are returning. This incentive is in the form of a one-time payment of $1,500. All other previously employed full-time employees who are returning to the district will receive $1,000. The district has built in similar retention and healthcare payments at reduced rates for those who work less than full-time.
Clear Creek ISD, Region 4:
|Up to 4 yrs. of exp. (teachers, counselors, librarians, and nurses)||4%|
|5+ yrs. of exp. (teachers, counselors, librarians and nurses)||4.25%|
|All other employees||3.50%|
|Beginning teacher salary||Increased from $53,600 to $55,750|
|Healthcare (TRS-Active)||Increase district contribution by $10/month|
|Bus drivers||Increase wage from $16.83/hr to $19/hr|
Clear Creek is also implementing an "honors teacher experience" program, in which teachers who reach milestones such as 5, 10, 15, etc. years of experience can receive additional compensation of up to $2,800. This could result in a total pay raise of 9.49% for some teachers. The district is also adding staff, especially in special education and is implementing safety and security upgrades.
San Marcos CISD, Region 13:
|Up to 5 yrs. of exp. (teachers, counselors, librarians and nurses)||3% ($1,562)|
|6+ yrs. of exp. (teachers, counselors, librarians and nurses)||4% ($2,113)|
|All other employees||6%|
|Beginning teacher salary||Increased to $49,662|
Fort Worth ISD, Region 11:
|Up to 5 yrs. of exp. (teachers)||5.8%, avg.|
|6-15 yrs. of exp. (teachers)||6.9%, avg.|
|15+ yrs. of exp. (teachers)||6.1%, avg|
|Counselors, nurses, librarians||5%|
|All other full-time||3%|
|Administrators||Greater of 3% or 3% of midpoint|
|Beginning teacher salary||Increased from $53,000 to $54,000|
What does it all mean?
There are over 1,000 school districts in Texas, each with varied funding under HB 3. In some cases, the bill may have even provided districts with the same or less funding if not for a hold harmless provision in the bill (which expires after the 2023-24 school year). Considering this and the fact that each district also has different needs and economic factors affecting compensation, the implementation of raises is going to be varied all over Texas. Among the districts we read about, teacher salaries were raised from 3% to 9.5%. To keep up with inflation, basic yearly pay raises in other professions typically hover around 3%. We know from district salary schedules, such as this one from Leander ISD, that typical step increases are closer to 1%. With this in mind, the impact of HB 3 in some districts may have been that teachers simply got the standard raise necessary to keep up with the cost of living.
What's next? Stay engaged!
It is important to note that there have been reports of districts that have under-calculated what they would receive in HB 3 funding, which impacts the amount they are required to spend on compensation. Additionally, some districts have relied almost exclusively on one-time stipends, which are less stable and do not necessarily count toward compensation for purposes of TRS or the amount an educator will receive for their retirement pension. ATPE is working with state officials to solve these issues so that districts comply with HB 3's efforts to increase educator compensation.
Across the sources we gathered, it seems that district leaders are happy to have the raise but still think that there are further improvements to be made. Clear Creek ISD Deputy Superintendent Paul McLarty wants to see more from the state, like getting closer to a 50-50 split between local and state funding. Klein ISD Superintendent Dr. Jenny McGown remarks that the state is still ranked 41st in the nation in spending. Lubbock-Cooper ISD Superintendent Keith Bryant says that he would like to eventually be able to provide teachers with a competitive wage.
ATPE agrees with these sentiments and urges educators to return to the polls during the 2020 primary and general elections when voters will have a chance to decide who will represent them in the next legislative session. The raises for educators and public education funding increases that resulted from the 2019 legislative session are a direct result of educators' votes in the 2018 elections. Stay connected and engaged by following Teach the Vote, ATPE, and ATPE lobbyists on Twitter using the handles @OfficialATPE, @TeachTheVote, @ATPE_JenniferM, @ATPE_AndreaC, @MarkWigginsTX, and @ATPE_MontyE.
Thank you for joining us on Teach the Vote to learn about how new laws enacted in the 86th Texas legislative session will impact you. ATPE created this series because we believe it is vitally important for educators to make sure they know and understand the laws that govern their profession and affect their classrooms. For more information on new laws impacting public education in Texas, be sure to check out ATPE's comprehensive report, "Know the Law: An Educator's Guide to Changes Enacted by the 86th Texas Legislature," created by the experienced staff of ATPE's Member Legal Services department.
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