DEA(LEGAL) - COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS: COMPENSATION PLAN
Minimum Salary Schedule — Educators
A district shall pay each classroom teacher, full-time librarian, full-time school counselor, or full-time nurse not less than the minimum monthly salary, based on the employee's level of experience, specified in Education Code 21.402 and 19 Administrative Code 153.1021.
"Classroom teacher" means an educator who teaches an average of at least four hours per day in an academic or career and technology instructional setting, focusing on the delivery of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, and who holds the relevant certificate from the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC). Although noninstructional duties do not qualify as teaching, necessary functions related to the educator's instructional assignment, such as instructional planning and transition between instructional periods, should be applied to creditable classroom time.
"Librarian" means an educator who provides full-time library services and holds the relevant certificate from SBEC.
"School counselor" means an educator who provides full-time counseling and guidance services and holds the relevant certificate from SBEC.
"Nurse" means an educator employed to provide full-time nursing and health-care services and who meets all the requirements to practice as a registered nurse (RN) pursuant to the Nursing Practice Act and the rules and regulations relating to professional nurse education, licensure, and practice and has been issued a license to practice professional nursing in Texas.
"Full-time" means contracted employment for at least ten months (187 days) for 100 percent of the school day, in accordance with the definitions of school day in Education Code 25.082, employment contract in Education Code 21.002, and school year in Education Code 25.081.
19 TAC 153.1022(a)
Placement on Salary Schedule
The commissioner's rules determine the experience for which a teacher, librarian, school counselor, or nurse is to be given credit in placing the teacher, librarian, school counselor, or nurse on the minimum salary schedule. A district shall credit the teacher, librarian, school counselor, or nurse for each year of experience, whether or not the years are consecutive. Education Code 21.402(a), .403(c); 19 TAC 153.1022
Employees Formerly on Career Ladder
A teacher or librarian who received a career ladder supplement on August 31, 1993, is entitled to at least the same gross monthly salary the teacher or librarian received for the 1994–95 school year as long as the teacher or librarian is employed by the same district.
In addition, a teacher or librarian who was on level two or three of the career ladder is entitled, as long as he or she is employed by the same district, to placement on the minimum salary schedule according to the guidelines at Education Code 21.403(d). Education Code 21.402(f), .403(d)
A district shall not grant any extra compensation, fee, or allowance to a public officer, agent, servant, or contractor after service has been rendered or a contract entered into and performed in whole or in part. Tex. Const. Art. III, Sec. 53
Public Hearing—Contract Employees
A district may not pay an employee or former employee more than an amount owed under a contract with the employee unless the district holds at least one public hearing. Notice of the hearing must be given in accordance with notice of a public meeting under the Texas Open Meetings Act [see BE].
The board must state the following at the public hearing:
- The source and exact amount of the payment;
- The reason the payment is being offered including the public purpose that will be served by making the payment; and
- The terms for distribution of the payment that effect and maintain the public purpose.
Local Gov't Code 180.007
Increase in Basic Allotment
During any school year for which the maximum amount of the basic allotment provided under Education Code 48.015(a) or (b) is greater than the maximum amount provided for the preceding school year, a district must use at least 30 percent of the district's increased funding to provide compensation increases to full-time district employees other than administrators as follows:
- 75 percent must be used to increase the compensation paid to classroom teachers, full-time librarians, full-time school counselors certified under Education Code Chapter 21, Subchapter B and full-time school nurses, prioritizing differentiated compensation for classroom teachers with more than five years of experience; and
- 25 percent may be used as determined by the district to increase compensation paid to full-time district employees.
"Compensation" includes benefits such as insurance premiums.
Education Code 48.051(c), (d)
Maintenance of Salary
An employee who received a salary increase from a district for the 2019–20 school year is, as long as the employee remains employed by the same district and the district is receiving at least the same amount of funding as the amount of funding the district received for the 2019–20 school year, entitled to salary that is at least equal to the salary the employee received for the 2019–20 school year.
This requirement does not apply if the board:
- Implements a furlough program under Education Code 21.4021 [see Furlough Program, below], a salary reduction under Education Code 21.4022 [see Salary Reduction/Furlough Process, below], and a widespread reduction in salaries under Education Code 21.4032 [see Widespread Salary Reductions, below] in reducing the employee's salary; and
- Has adopted a resolution declaring a financial exigency for the district under Education Code 44.011. [See CEA]
A reduction in the salary of a district employee described above is subject to the rights granted to the employee under the Education Code.
Education Code 48.051(c-1), (c-2)
Salary Advances and Loans
A district shall not lend its credit or gratuitously grant public money or things of value in aid of any individual, association, or corporation. Tex. Const. Art. III, Sec. 52; Brazoria County v. Perry, 537 S.W.2d 89 (Tex. Civ. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 1976, no writ)
Designation of Compensation for Benefits
An employee who is covered by a cafeteria plan or who is eligible to pay health-care premiums through a premium conversion plan may elect to designate a portion of the employee's compensation to be used as health-care supplementation. The amount designated may not exceed the amount permitted under federal law. Education Code 22.103
An employee may use the compensation designated for health-care supplementation for any employee benefit, including depositing the designated amount into a cafeteria plan in which the employee is enrolled or using the designated amount for health-care premiums through a premium conversion plan. Education Code 22.106
Each school year, an active employee must elect in writing whether to designate a portion of the employee's compensation to be used as health-care supplementation. The election must be made at the same time that the employee elects to participate in a cafeteria plan, if applicable. Education Code 22.105
For purposes of the designation of compensation as health-care supplementation, "employee" means an active, contributing member of the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) who:
- Is employed by a district;
- Is not a retiree eligible for coverage under Insurance Code Chapter 1575 (retiree group health benefits);
- Is not eligible for coverage by a group insurance plan under Insurance Code Chapter 1551 (state employee health insurance) or Chapter 1601 (state university employee health insurance); and
- Is not an individual performing personal services for the district as an independent contractor.
Education Code 22.101(2)
TRS Contributions for New Hires
During each fiscal year, a district shall pay an amount equal to the state contribution rate, as established by the General Appropriations Act for the fiscal year, applied to the aggregate compensation of new members of the retirement system, during their first 90 days of employment.
"New member" means a person first employed on or after September 1, 2005, including a former member who withdrew retirement contributions under Government Code 822.003 and is reemployed on or after September 1, 2005.
On a monthly basis, a district shall:
- Certify to TRS the total amount of salary paid during the first 90 days of employment of a new member and the total amount of employer payments under this section for the payroll periods; and
- Retain information, as determined by TRS, sufficient to allow administration of this section, including information for each employee showing the applicable salary as well as aggregate compensation for the first 90 days of employment for new employees.
A district must remit the amount required under this section to TRS at the same time the district remits the member's contribution. In computing the amount required to be remitted, a district shall include compensation paid to an employee for the entire pay period that contains the 90th calendar day of new employment.
Gov't Code 825.4041
TRS Surcharge for Rehired Retirees
TRS Fund Contributions
During each payroll period for which a retiree is reported, a district shall contribute to the retirement system for each retiree reported an amount based on the retiree's salary equal to the sum of:
- The current contribution amount that would be contributed by the retiree if the retiree were an active, contributing member; and
- The current contribution amount authorized by the General Appropriations Act that the state would contribute for that retiree if the retiree were an active, contributing member.
Gov't Code 825.4092(b)
Health Insurance Contributions
In addition, each payroll period and for each rehired retiree who is enrolled in TRS Care (retiree group health insurance), a district shall contribute to the TRS Care trust fund an amount established by TRS. In determining the amount to be contributed by the district, TRS shall consider the amount a retiree is required to pay for the retiree and any enrolled dependents to participate in the group program and the full cost of the retiree's and enrolled dependents' participation in the group program. If more than one employer reports the retiree to TRS during a month, the amount of the required payment shall be prorated among employers. Gov't Code 825.4092(c); Insurance Code 1575.204(b)
No Recovery of Costs
A district is ultimately responsible for payment of the contributions above. A district may not directly or indirectly pass that cost on to the retiree through payroll deduction, by imposition of a fee, or by any other means designed to recover the cost. Gov't Code 825.4092(f)
A district is not required to contribute these amounts for a retiree who retired from the retirement system before September 1, 2005. Gov't Code 825.4092(e)
A district is not required to contribute these amounts for a retiree who retired from the retirement system after September 1, 2005, and is employed in a position described by Government Code 824.6021(a) performing duties related to the mitigation of student learning loss attributable to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. This provision expires February 1, 2025. Gov't Code 825.4092(f)
Notice Regarding Earned Income Tax Credit
Not later than March 1 of each year, a district shall provide employees with information regarding general eligibility requirements for the federal earned income tax credit by one of the following means:
- In person;
- Electronically at the employee's last known email address;
- Through a flyer included, in writing or electronically, as a payroll stuffer; or
- By first class mail to the employee's last known address.
A district may not satisfy this requirement solely by posting information in the workplace.
In addition, a district may provide employees with IRS publications and forms, or information prepared by the comptroller, relating to the earned income tax credit.
Labor Code 104.001–.003
The commissioner has held that a district may reduce educator compensation if it gives sufficient warning of a possible reduction in pay when educators can still unilaterally resign from their contracts. A sufficient warning must be both formal enough and specific enough to give educators a meaningful opportunity to decide whether to continue employment with a district. Brajenovich v. Alief Indep. Sch. Dist., Tex. Comm'r of Educ. Decision No. 021-R1O-1106 (2009)
Widespread Salary Reductions
The following provisions apply only to a widespread reduction in the amount of annual salaries paid to classroom teachers in a district based primarily on district financial conditions rather than on teacher performance.
For any school year in which a district has reduced the amount of the annual salaries paid to classroom teachers from the amount paid for the preceding school year, the district shall reduce the amount of the annual salary paid to each district administrator or other professional employee by a percent or fraction of a percent that is equal to the average percent or fraction of a percent by which teacher salaries have been reduced.
Education Code 21.4032
A board may not reduce salaries until the district has complied with the requirements at Education Code 21.4022 [see Salary Reduction/Furlough Process, below]. Education Code 21.4022
In accordance with district policy [see DFFA], a board may implement a furlough program and reduce the number of days of service otherwise required under Education Code 21.401 [see DC] by not more than six days of service during a school year if the commissioner certifies that the district will be provided with less state and local funding for that year than was provided to the district for the 2010–11 school year. Education Code 21.4021(a)
A board may not implement a furlough program until the district has complied with the requirements at Education Code 21.4022 [see Salary Reduction/Furlough Process, below]. Education Code 21.4022
Not later than July 1 of each year, the commissioner shall determine for each district whether the estimated amount of state and local funding per student in weighted average daily attendance to be provided to the district under the Foundation School Program for maintenance and operations for the following school year is less than the amount provided to the district for the 2010–11 school year. If the amount estimated to be provided is less, the commissioner shall certify the percentage decrease in funding to be provided to the district. Education Code 48.010
Notwithstanding Education Code 21.402 (minimum salary schedule), a board may reduce the salary of an employee who is furloughed in proportion to the number of days by which service is reduced. Any reduction in the amount of the annual salary must be equally distributed over the course of the employee's current contract with the district.
A furlough program must subject all contract personnel to the same number of furlough days. An educator may not be furloughed on a day that is included in the number of days of instruction required under Education Code 25.081 [see EB]. Implementation of a furlough program may not result in an increase in the number of required teacher workdays. An educator may not use personal, sick, or any other paid leave while the educator is on a furlough.
If a board adopts a furlough program after the date by which a teacher must give notice of resignation from a probationary, term, or continuing contract [see DFE], an employee who subsequently resigns is not subject to sanctions imposed by SBEC.
A decision by a board to implement a furlough program is final and may not be appealed and does not create a cause of action or require collective bargaining.
Education Code 21.4021
Salary Reduction / Furlough Process
A board may not implement a furlough program under Education Code 21.4021 or reduce salaries until the district has complied with the requirements below.
A district must use a process to develop a furlough program or other salary reduction proposal, as applicable, that:
- Includes the involvement of the district's professional staff; and
- Provides district employees with the opportunity to express opinions regarding the furlough program or salary reduction proposal, as applicable, at the public meeting described below.
A board must hold a public meeting at which the board and district administration present:
- Information regarding the options considered for managing the district's available resources, including consideration of a tax rate increase and use of the district's available fund balance;
- An explanation of how the district intends, through implementation of a furlough program or salary reductions, as applicable, to limit the number of district employees who will be discharged or whose contracts will not be renewed. Any explanation of a furlough program must state the specific number of furlough days proposed to be required; and
- Information regarding the local option residence homestead exemption.
The public and district employees must be provided with an opportunity to comment at the public meeting.
Education Code 21.4022