SAN ANTONIO – Somerset Independent School District officials are looking into the Teacher Incentive Allotment program to help teachers to earn more money and help attract and retain future instructors.
The program is part of House Bill 3, which was enacted last year.
School districts can receive up to $32,000 per teacher, per year, based on several factors, including teacher designation, which is decided by the district based on a teacher’s qualifications.
Program officials also look at the socioeconomic level of the school and whether the campus is rural or not.
“What we’ve noticed is by paying our teachers more than any of our neighboring school districts, we’ve been able to retain our teachers,” said Dr. Saul Hinojosa, superintendent of schools at Somerset ISD.
Somerset ISD has a similar program that was implemented in 2010 that gives teachers additional bonuses based on performance.
Hinojosa said the district implemented the Teacher Advancement Program, or TAP, to address some of the issues it was dealing with a few years ago.
“We started at the junior high because we had a failing campus,” he said.
Hinojosa said district officials saw big changes. Under the TAP program, there are three different factors that can help teachers earn more money: performance of their students, teacher evaluations, which happens four times a year, and the school’s performance.
“We allocate $3,000 per teacher, but if teachers are not -- let’s just say -- performing to the level that they are required to be at, well, then their pay is redistribute to teachers who are, you know, our high flyers. So a teacher could earn as much as $10,000 in incentive pay, and some teachers could earn as little as $1,000,” Hinojosa said.
According to the Texas Education Agency, the average pay for a Texas public school teacher during the 2018-2019 school year was $54,122.
San Antonio ISD has its own program called the Master Teacher program. The district sent KSAT the following information about the program:
"We began the Master Teacher program as one of our efforts to ensure our students are performing at higher levels and graduating well prepared to succeed in higher education. Master Teachers are experienced champions of children with a proven track record of increasing student achievement. They focus on students with the greatest academic gaps.
"Our Master Teachers can earn stipends of up to $15,000 for the additional time and days worked (there are two annual stipends of: $5,625 for 15 additional days outside of the teaching contract- 5 in professional learning and 10 with students, and $9,375 for extended time with students averaging 5 additional hours weekly.) Note that continuation of a Master Teacher position and the assigned stipends are reviewed annually and dependent upon performance measures, to include student performance/growth and annual appraisals.
“We are in the process of evolving our Master Teacher initiative to align with the state’s HB 3 Teacher Incentive Allotment requirements going forward. HB 3 TIA has created an opportunity for us to sustain our Master Teacher initiative long term, and we applaud the state for recognizing the power of initiatives like these to accelerate student achievement.”
— Leslie Price, SAISD Spokeswoman