The Texas Senate is planning to vote on House Bill 3 (school finance reform and educator salaries) on Monday. The Senate version is different in several ways from the bill that passed the House, including with regard to how it addresses the need for a teacher pay raise.

Salary provisions in the Senate version of HB 3:

  • Includes a $5,000 pay raise for classroom teachers and full-time librarians for 2019-20, with the assurance that as long as the teacher/librarian remains in the district, the salary could not be lowered below the 2019-20 level.
  • Introduces a Byzantine merit pay proposal (for stipends above the $5,000 increase) limited to “teachers of record.”
    • Creates recognized, exemplary and master teacher designations
    • The commissioner would have approval authority over districts’ designation systems
    • To receive a designation, teachers would have to be ranked in order to determine how they compared to other teachers in similar teaching assignments statewide. A teacher in the top 33 percent would be eligible for the recognized designation, top 20 percent for exemplary, and top five percent for master teacher
    • A district’s designation system must incorporate student performance and student surveys for 3rd grade and higher
    • Districts would receive allotments for designation teachers: $12,000 — $32,000 for a master teacher, $6,000 — $18,000 for an exemplary teacher, and $3,000 — $9,000 for a recognized teacher
    • High needs or rural campuses would receive the greater allotments
    • At least 90 percent of the funds would have to be used for educator compensation, with the remainder available to be used for costs associated with implementing the merit pay system, including efforts to support teachers in obtaining designations

TCTA and other teacher groups are working on revisions to the merit pay plan to remove the many objectionable provisions.

As a reminder, the House version of HB 3 does not include a $5,000 pay raise. It requires districts to spend 25% of new funding they receive on salaries for non-administrative employees. At least 75% of that 25% would be distributed equally (i.e., all non-administrative employees would receive the same based amount), and the rest could be distributed unequally. For comparative purposes, if all of the required funding were distributed equally, the average raise for each non-administrative employee would be $1,850.

The House version also includes a differentiated pay proposal on top of the raise, designed to help districts incentivize teachers to move to struggling schools. As revised through language drafted by TCTA, the proposal would be entirely locally developed with input from educators and would not require the use of test performance or student surveys.