CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Back in 2019, Texas passed House Bill 3, which was designed to increase teacher compensation across the state.
Recently, the Texas Education Agency implemented the Teacher Incentive Allotment program, which is part of House Bill 3.
“(The) TIA was also established in order to recognize and reward excellent and effective teachers,” Grace Wu, the Director of District Talent Systems for TEA said.
Through the TIA, teachers can earn one of three designations — Recognized, Exemplary, or Master — with each being an additional tier for teacher-focused funding to their district.
The funding will be awarded to the district every year for each designated teacher employed. 90 percent of the funds, which can range from $3-32k per year, must be used on teacher compensation at the campus where the designated teacher(s) works.
National Board Certified Teachers could automatically be designated by Recognized, if they meet the eligibility requirements set by the TEA.
In order to receive the Exemplary or Master designation, teachers must be recognized by their district. Districts can create their own way to designate teachers.
Districts then submits their top teachers to the TEA to be approved, with the help of Texas Tech University.
“Our specific plan is based on student growth, campus growth, and the teacher observation system,” Kristina Gonzalez, the interim superintendent at the Premont Independent School District said.
Premont ISD is one of two local districts to recently have its designation system approved by TEA, the other being Freer ISD. More local districts have submitted to the TEA for approval.
Currently, five teachers at Premont Collegiate High School and one teacher at Premont Early College Academy are designated by the TIA.
Premont ISD’s allotment for the TIA funds is as follows:
75 percent of it goes to the designated teacher, 15 percent gets evenly distributed to other teachers at the school, and 10 percent goes to the district to continue to run the program.
“It pushes the teachers to even strive further to try to do even better for the children,” said Natalie Garza, a 5th grade teacher and the only designated teacher on the campus at Premont Early College Academy. “We already do it day-to-day, it’s just now with this Teacher Incentive Allotment, you can get that extra pay, and get our salaries higher.”
Garza said the extra funds are very helpful for teachers.
“Teacher’s pay is not very high, you really have to love what you do. With this, it makes you love it even more,” she said. “At some points there were times teachers kind of felt, ‘are we ever appreciated,’ and so forth, and this just shows that our work doesn’t go unnoticed.”
The overall goal of the TIA program is to increase teacher retention in districts across the state.
“With the whole teacher shortage, the main goal is to retain and recruit teachers to come into our district,” Gonzalez said.
“It is vitally important that we have great teachers in the classroom, and one of the things that is driving teachers out of the classroom is compensation,” Wu said.
Every teacher in the state is eligible to qualify for the TIA.
“We wanted to make sure it was mathematically possible for every teacher to earn a designation,” Wu said.
The Region 2 school districts that have been accepted or are under consideration by the TEA for TIA program are:
- Alice ISD
- Benavides ISD
- Bishop CISD
- Brooks County ISD
- Corpus Christi ISD
- Flour Bluff ISD
- Freer ISD
- George West ISD
- Gregory-Portland ISD
- McMullen County ISD
- Orange Grove ISD
- Pawnee ISD
- Premont ISD
- San Diego ISD
- Sinton ISD
- Skidmore-Tynan ISD
- West Oso ISD