Carroll ISD is giving its special education professionals a stipend for their service.

The board of trustees approved the stipends at a special meeting Feb. 5 along with a hiring incentive bonus aimed at filling and retaining special education positions that have been historically difficult to fill for the district. Stacie Bonner, executive director of special programs, presented the stipend recommendation to the board, who approved it with a 5-0 vote. Trustee Alex Sexton was absent.

“Special education teachers are a shortage, and when you're competing with other districts, the pool is smaller, so this is more of a recruitment tool,” Bonner said.

The details

The district laid out a disbursement plan that grants self-contained special education teachers—individuals who teach multiple subjects to their students—a stipend of $3,500 each, Bonner said. For self-contained paraprofessionals, the district allotted $2,000 to be disbursed in two payments. The plan also outlines $2,500 and $1,000 for resource and inclusion teachers, and paraprofessionals, respectively.

Resource and inclusion teachers instruct students with special needs who can also function in a general education classroom. Stipends paid to these paraprofessionals will also be doled out in two split payments as a means to mitigate turnover in these roles, Bonner said.

The district also plans to award each of its dyslexia therapists $2,000 for a combined total of $264,000 in stipends, she said.

“Dyslexia therapists under the new house bill are now operating as case managers, so in addition to serving as language science teachers, they are part of the evaluation staff,” Bonner said.

More details

In the proposed plan, about 130 staff members would receive a stipend, according to district documents. These stipends would continue on a monthly basis for staff members in these special education roles and would contribute to an individual's retirement, unlike the one-time supplemental payments the district awarded previously, Bonner said.

In addition to the stipends, the district approved a hiring incentive bonus for dyslexia therapists. The bonus would give $3,000 to Certified Academic Language Therapists, $2,000 to Certified Academic Language Practitioners and $500 to dyslexia paraprofessionals, Bonner said. Together, the stipends and hiring incentives would total $276,500.

“Our intent is to be able to fill positions, so hopefully it will attract individuals to come to Carroll ISD,” Superintendent Lane Ledbetter said.