The Keller ISD board of trustees heard from the district's Chief Human Resources Officer Tracy Johnson, Director of Human Resources Michelle Somerhalder and Director of Employee Engagement Jennifer Love on Nov. 13 about the parameters of a teacher incentive allotment program.

The backstory

Johnson said the teacher incentive allotment was a product of House Bill 3 from the 2019 Legislature. It allows districts to recognize and reward top-performing teachers.

“It’s a way to incentivize teachers to stay in the classroom and make more money,” Johnson said.

She said the district is just beginning to engage in the program, which is a two-year process, and five teachers in KISD are able to collect the incentive money, as they earned those awards in other districts before being hired on in KISD.

Johnson added the amount teachers can earn in teacher incentive allotments depends on the environment in which they teach, such as teaching at campuses that have a high number of low socioeconomic students.

Love said typically teachers are identified for allotments through measurements of student growth and classroom observations.

“We love recognizing our amazing educators in different ways,” Love said. “But now we can have a way to monetarily reward them for their accomplishments.”

Love added having a teacher incentive allotment program allows district officials to work on the three Rs of human resources: recognition, recruitment and retention, which creates a more sustainable pipeline of educators.

The details

As part of her presentation to the board, Somerhalder discussed the three tiers of allotment ranges based on numbers from the 2022-23 school year. They include:
  • Recognized: $3,069-$4,278
  • Exemplary: $$6,138-$8,555
  • Master: $12,230-$16,259
The ranges for this academic year had not been released at the time of the presentation, Somerhalder said.

She went on to say, with more than 1,200 school districts across the state, 346 of them participate in the allotment program, which represents roughly 30% of all districts. More than 13,700 teachers have been recognized in the program, which translates to more than $145 million being awarded to those teachers.

Somerhalder told the board funding for the program comes from the Texas Legislature, not the individual districts.

Zooming in

The application process consists of four main steps, Somerhalder said. They include:
  • 2023-24: Applying for local teacher incentive allotment designation; the deadline is April 15, 2024
  • 2024-25: Capturing performance data for eligible teachers
  • 2025-26: Data submission and validation, and full system approval by the Texas Education Agency
  • 2026-27: Begin teacher allotment compensation; expand and modify the program as necessary
What they’re saying

While several board members had concerns about funding for the program, Johnson stated the program is based on annual performance evaluations, and the state funding comes in the form of a pass-through, one-time payment each fall.

“For me, it’s no different than hiring someone you pay more with a masters or Ph.D. versus a bachelor's [degree],” Place 5 trustee Chris Coker said. “If you’re a teacher and you’re coming into a district and the state is willing to recognize you for going above and beyond and they’re willing to pay for it, more power to them. Good for the teachers that are doing it.”

This agenda item was for informational purposes and no action was taken.