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Lockhart ISD Board approves district plan to pursue incentive pay for teachers

Evan Thomas

The Lockhart ISD Board of Trustees unanimously approved the school district’s plan to pursue incentive pay for teachers through the Texas Education Agency’s Teacher Incentive Allotment (TIA) program. If TEA approves the district’s application to the program, LISD teachers who meet the criteria could begin earning up to an additional $20,000 beginning September 2023.

In the last Texas legislative session, House Bill 3 established the TIA program to help public school districts to reward effective teaching, retain effective teachers in the classroom, and recruit more people into the profession of teaching. The program provides funding for districts to provide additional compensation to their highest-performing teachers. Levels of compensation depend on the attainment of one of three levels of earned designation: up to  $5,500 for Recognized, up to  $11,000 for Exemplary, and up to $20,000 for Masters. 

Each district is required to develop a plan that includes a reward system based on teacher observations and student growth.  LISD engaged its District Advisory Committee (DAC) to develop its plan, including a diverse group of elementary and secondary teachers, principals, parents, community members, and district administrators throughout the process. 

The plan includes the use of teacher observations through the Texas Teacher Evaluation Support System (T-TESS) and student growth measures that are already in place in LISD. The district has measured and tracked student growth consistently over the past three years in its commitment to grow every learner by 1.5 years each year in reading and math.  The STAAR Progress Measure, STAR Renaissance, iStation, and Ready, Set, K! assessments are included in the initial plan because they are research-based and aligned to state standards. The district intends to add other student growth data measures that will be more inclusive of other non-core classes. Additionally, teachers must have attained ESL certification to be considered, a district requirement for all teachers by the end of the 2023-2024 school year, to help meet the needs of its student population of English Language Learners which has grown by 350 percent in the past 10 years.

DAC finalized its plan, and the Board’s approval at its meeting Monday night was the final step before LISD submits the plan to TEA by April 15 for review. LISD will be notified by August 15 of TEA’s final decision. 

“The Board and district leadership team are grateful for the hard work of the District Advisory Committee members in thoughtfully developing this plan,” said Superintendent Mark Estrada. “If approved by TEA, the plan will not only ensure our highest-performing teachers are rewarded for being ‘Locked on Excellence,’ it will also ensure our students are experiencing the highest quality educational opportunities.” 

If approved, the district would spend 2021-2022 gathering data to submit to Texas Tech University, TEA’s designated data review partner in this statewide project. Once data is reviewed and approved, TEA will provide final designation and allotment notification in April 2023. Payments would be issued to eligible teachers in September 2023. 

The DAC decided that of the total state allotment, 90 percent of the funds would go directly to teachers in the form of compensation. The remaining 10 percent would be used to help offset costs for teachers associated with the TIA certification process.

Superintendent Mark Estrada will host an online meeting to discuss the TIA program with LISD staff on March 29 at 4:45 pm. The district will host three additional online staff meetings, and principals will discuss TIA information in faculty meetings in April.

To learn more about the TIA program, visit www.TIATexas.org.

 

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