Tuesday's bill filings include two major bills for teachers. HB 198 includes what is believed to be the governor's plan for a teacher pay raise, and HB 20 provides new funding to TRS-Care to help lower premiums and deductibles for the next two years.

Teacher pay raise

Although several teacher salary bills [link] have been filed, the version that is believed to be the governor's plan (developed in conjunction with Commissioner Mike Morath) was filed in the House on the first day of the special session by Rep. Travis Clardy. Among its provisions:

  • The bill applies to districts and charter schools; for convenience, references to "districts" in this description include charter schools.
  • For the 2019-20 school year, each district must ensure that its average teacher pay is $1,000 higher than the average pay for teachers at that district during the 2016-17 school year.
  • Beginning in 2021-22 and in subsequent years, each district must ensure that the average annual pay is at least $1,000 more than the average pay the previous year. However, if the average pay in the district is at least $51,000, it does not have to comply with this provision.
  • A district would not have to comply with the requirement if it received less state/local funding (combined) for maintenance and operations than it had the previous year, or was anticipating a decrease in total revenue.
  • No additional funding is contemplated for the $1,000 average raise.
  • In addition, a new system of special teacher designations would be created:
    • An "accomplished" teacher must hold National Board Certification.
    • A "distinguished" teacher must have National Board Certification, submit evidence of providing leadership to other teachers (including letters from other teachers and the principal), be nominated by the district (materials must include a student performance analysis), and have performed in the top 25% (or other number determined by the commissioner) of teachers in the state in a similar certification field based on student growth over the previous three years.
    • A "master" teacher must have National Board Certification, meet the other criteria of a distinguished teacher, and perform in the top 5% (or number determined by the commissioner) of classroom teachers in the state in a similar certification field based on student growth over the previous three years.
  • Districts would be eligible for an additional allotment for each teacher achieving one of these designations, though there is no requirement that the allotment be spent on teacher salaries.
  • Rural districts and districts with campuses that have a majority of educationally disadvantaged students could apply for a significantly higher allotment, but would have to meet certain average salary targets - over time (for some districts, after 2035) the average salary for the specially designated teachers would have to be at least $68,000 for a distinguished teacher and $85,000 for a master teacher.
  • The state would provide an advance payment to districts of $1,900 to cover the cost of teachers pursuing National Board certification; the advance must be paid back over a period of three years; for any teacher attempting but not achieving National Board certification, the district must pay back an additional $300.

TRS-Care funding

HB 20 by Rep. Trent Ashby would appropriate $150 million from the Rainy Day Fund to be used to help lower deductibles and premiums for TRS-Care participants. It is anticipated that to the extent premiums are lowered, those changes would be made to premiums for the employee/dependent categories, but not to the employee-only level of coverage, although this is not specified in the bill. Projected premiums and deductibles are not yet available.