Plano ISD approves staff retention incentive, increase in substitute pay

Plano ISD board of trustees meeting.
The Plano ISD board of trustees discuss an amendment to the district's 2021-22 compensation plan for teachers, support staff and substitutes. (Screenshot courtesy Plano ISD)

The Plano ISD board of trustees discuss an amendment to the district's 2021-22 compensation plan for teachers, support staff and substitutes. (Screenshot courtesy Plano ISD)

The Plano ISD board of trustees approved a retention incentive of $750 for all active, full-time district employees as well as pay rate increases for substitutes and deaf education interpreters during its Jan. 11 meeting.

Assistant Superintendent Beth Brockman said the full incentive will be paid out to active, full-time employees as of Jan. 5, while current part-time employees on that date will receive $350 incentives. Employees who have already submitted separation agreements, as well as the superintendent and her senior cabinet, will not receive the incentives, Brockman said.

"We plan that this payment [will] be made in a separate check this Friday, [Jan.] 14," she said. "As this would be coming separate from a normal pay cycle paycheck, and it is not [Teacher Retirement System of Texas] creditable, the only deductions that we anticipate will come [out of] that payment would be the federal income tax and federal Medicare tax. So our employees will really see great benefit from that dollar amount."

Brockman also detailed pay rate increases for district substitute teachers that will be put into effect from Jan. 10. Certified teachers with valid Texas teaching certification will now be paid $130 per day, while substitutes with only a degree will receive $120 per day and those with a high school diploma and no degree will make $100 per day. The long-term pay rate for paraprofessionals who work with teachers was increased to $110 per day.

Bonuses were also approved for substitutes that take on more work in a calendar month. Substitutes who work 10-to-14 days will receive a $300 bonus, while those who work 15 or more days will receive $350.

The rate for PISD's dedicated substitutes was also raised to $130 per day.

"Our dedicated [substitutes] are the subs that we put on each campus ... to be available to cover whatever is needed on the campus on any given day," Brockman said.

Additionally, the board approved a critical need bonus in times of critical substitute shortages.

"Our substitutes earning less than $150 per day under the new rates, as well as our substitute nurses, will be eligible for a bonus once the superintendent enacts the critical need provision," Brockman said. "This bonus will be up to $50 a day depending on the nature of the critical need and the timing. We are planning that our initial period of critical need will be from Jan. 10-28 and we are going to enact the $50 per day bonus for substitutes working during that window of time."

Superintendent Sara Bonser said the district is currently filling 45%-55% of substitute positions on average and PISD was 190 substitutes short on Jan. 7.

"The teachers at the campuses and the principals, they're carrying the full load of this," Bonser said. "Every day a sub doesn't show up, those teachers who are already teaching their own kids are absorbing classes. We need to do everything we can to preserve the learning environment and support our teachers and staff out at the campuses."

Brockman said that planned daily pay rate increases for deaf education interpreters will allow PISD to better compete to fill shortages and could decrease or eliminate "an over-reliance on agency labor."

"This is a group of employees that we have continually been trying to compete to compensate appropriately and adequately to access some pretty limited resources in the Metroplex area," Brockman said.

The amendment to the district's 2021-22 compensation plan was approved unanimously, though board President David Stolle was absent from the meeting.
By William C. Wadsack

Editor, Plano

William joined Community Impact Newspaper in December 2019. He previously served as managing editor of several daily and weekly publications in North Texas and his native state of Louisiana.