House Bill 3 is the House leadership’s plan to reform school funding. Filed by House Public Education Committee Chair Dan Huberty, the bill includes provisions to reduce recapture and redistribute billions of dollars in new funding for public schools.

The salary components of HB 3 are very complex and somewhat confusing. The bill does not include an across-the-board increase and would not ensure a pay raise for every teacher in Texas. Some teachers would benefit from a significant increase in the state minimum salary schedule, which would range from $33,000 per year for new teachers to $53,600 for teachers on step 20. This revised schedule would apply only to fully-certified classroom teachers, although counselors, nurses and librarians would still be subject to the current state minimum schedule.

Key issues:

  • A district could adopt a different minimum salary schedule that is not based on experience, but on performance tiers (determined by teacher appraisals and performance criteria). A local schedule cannot have a lower minimum than the $33,000 on the state schedule for step 0, and must have at least one performance tier that meets or exceeds the $53,600 state minimum for step 20 on the state schedule. But otherwise, the state minimum does not apply to a local salary schedule, and teachers do not have to be moved up a step for a year of experience, as under the state schedule.
  • The state minimum schedule for teachers would no longer rise automatically with increases in state funding, but instead would be a specified dollar amount in the statute.
  • Some teachers who are currently subject to the state minimum schedule would no longer be subject to those minimum amounts under HB 3. A teacher on an emergency certificate, a teacher with a certificate issued pursuant to enrollment in an alternative certification program who has not completed full certification requirements, a teacher on a school district teaching permit or a person teaching under a commissioner’s waiver would not have a state minimum salary.
  • Counselors, nurses and librarians would remain on the current state minimum salary schedule. As currently in the bill, the steps on that schedule would increase, because that schedule would remain tied to increases in state funding. Due to the large state funding increase in HB 3, the minimum salary schedule for counselors, nurses and librarians would range from approximately $32,950 for step 0 to $53,390 for step 20.
  • In addition to the revised state minimum salary schedule, the bill includes a Byzantine merit pay proposal. A few highlights:
    • The commissioner of education would create Recognized, Exemplary and Master teacher designations.
    • For a teacher with such a designation, a district would be entitled to a $3,000 allotment for Recognized status, $6,000 for Exemplary, or $12,000 for Master; the allotment could increase significantly if the teacher is placed on a campus with a high percentage of disadvantaged students. The allotment can be paid to any educator, or used for training or to pay costs to the district of creating the program to identify teachers who are basis of the allotment.
    • A teacher must be ranked in the top 33 percent statewide in teaching performance among teachers with similar assignments to be considered Recognized; in the top 20 percent for Exemplary and the top five percent for Master.
    • The system for ranking teachers — which can be either the state-approved model or a locally-developed system — must incorporate student performance, teacher appraisals (to which the commissioner would be given access) and student perception surveys from students if in third grade or higher.
    • The commissioner would have the authority to revoke or require revisions to a district-developed system.
    • The commissioner would be required to use a college/university to verify via classroom or video/audio observations that a representative sample of teacher appraisals would meet the requirements of a designation.
    • Class-size limits would not apply to a class taught by a Recognized, Exemplary or Master teacher.