Como-Pickton CISD is enlisting the help of an outside committee to create a designation system for teacher bonuses, superintendent Dr. Greg Bower said at the Monday night school board meeting.
“We [the administration] have created a committee for our teachers to go through and create the criteria themselves,” Bower said. “Instead of us [the administrative team] being the facilitators that may create a hostile environment by what we decide, we are going to contract out with an outside source.”
Bower wanted to avoid “alienating” his teaching staff through the administration setting criteria, and he said that environment was disrupting teacher morale. The decision to contract with outside help might cost the district $12,000 though Bower believes that is the “maximum.”
“I think that it will be realistically between $8,000-$10,000, but I don’t want to come back and ask for $2,000 more,” Bower said.
The designation system for the bonuses, called teacher incentive allotments, are prepared and submitted by local school districts for state approval. House Bill 3, passed by the state legislature in 2019, established the allotment “stated goal of a six-figure salary for teachers who prioritize teaching in high needs areas and rural district campuses,” according to the Texas Education Agency.
“If they meet certain criteria, they’re able to get extra money from the state,” Bower said. “In fact, it’s very possible they [teachers] could earn more money than my administrative team could earn by doing good things in the classroom.”
Those criteria do not have to be based solely on standardized test scores, Bower said. Examples he provided were portfolios and peer assessments.
Not all school districts will implement the system at once. Rather, groups, or cohorts, will implement their systems in different school years. Como-Pickton, along with all other Hopkins County school districts except Miller Grove, is in cohort D or later, meaning qualifying teachers could see their allotments as soon as 2023 or 2024. Miller Grove, according to TEA documents, has not submitted a letter of intent to participate in the program.
“Some schools are starting to implement it, but some schools are pushing it back,” Bower said. “I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to get a head start on things.”
The board approved the budget amendment to contract for the committee, and Bower said the cushion built into the current budget allowed for cost.
In other items, Bower presented a campus improvement report to the board, detailing campus changes during his tenure. The main changes included campus beautification such as repainting yellow pollards and fences to the district’s sky blue and more visible signage.
“One of the big things with me is when other people come into our school, what do they see? What is the image our parents and our faculty see when they get here?” Bower said.