Incentive Grants—Contract Provision
A district shall provide in employment contracts that qualifying employees may receive an incentive payment under an awards program established under Education Code Chapter 21, Subchapter O (Educator Excellence Award Program and Educator Excellence Innovation Program) if the district participates in the program. A district shall indicate that any incentive payment distributed is considered a payment for performance and not an entitlement as part of an employee's salary. Education Code 21.415
Educator Excellence Innovation Program
The Educator Excellence Innovation Program (EEIP) is a grant program under which a district may receive a competitive grant for the purposes of systematically transforming educator quality and effectiveness. TEA will give priority to districts that receive Title I funding and have at a majority of district campuses a student enrollment that is at least 50 percent educationally disadvantaged.
A district is eligible to apply for EEIP grant funds if the district:
Completes and submits a Notice of Intent to Apply to TEA by the date established by the Commissioner;
Complies with all assurances in the Notice of Intent to Apply and grant application;
Participates in the required technical assistance activities established by the Commissioner, including establishing leadership teams, master teachers, mentor teachers, and instructional coaches and developing career pathways;
Agrees to participate for four years; and
Complies with any other activities set forth in the program requirements.
An eligible district must submit an application in a form prescribed by the Commissioner. Each eligible applicant must meet all deadlines, requirements, and assurances specified in the application. The Commissioner may waive any eligibility requirements as specified in 19 Administrative Code 102.1073.
An eligible district that intends to participate in the EEIP shall submit a local educator excellence innovation plan to TEA. A local educator excellence innovation plan must address the elements at 19 Administrative Code 102.1073(e)(2).
A district must act pursuant to its local board policy [see DEAA (LOCAL)] for submitting a local educator excellence innovation plan and grant application to TEA. A local decision to approve and submit a plan and grant application may not be appealed to the Commissioner.
A district may renew its local educator excellence innovation plan for three consecutive school years without resubmitting a full grant application to TEA. With TEA approval, a district may amend its local plan in accordance with 19 Administrative Code 102.1073(c) and (h) for each school year the district receives a program grant.
Use of Grant Funds
A district may use grant funds only to carry out purposes of the program as described at Education Code 21.7011, in accordance with the district's local plan, which may include the following specific methods or procedures:
Implementation and administration of a high-quality mentoring program for teachers in the first three years of classroom teaching using mentors who meet the qualifications prescribed by Education Code 21.458 [see MENTOR TEACHERS, below];
Implementation of a teacher evaluation system using multiple measures that include:
The results of classroom observation, which may include student comments;
The degree of student educational growth and learning; and
The results of teacher self-evaluation;
To the extent permitted under Education Code Chapter 25, Subchapter C, restructuring of the school day or school year to provide for embedded and collaborative learning communities for the purpose of professional development [see EC];
Establishment of an alternative teacher compensation or retention system; and
Implementation of incentives designed to reduce teacher turnover.
A district may apply to the Commissioner in writing for a waiver to exempt the district or one or more district campuses from one or more of the statutory sections listed at Education Code 21.7061(a).
The application for the waiver must demonstrate:
Why waiving the identified section of the Education Code is necessary to carry out the purposes of the program;
Approval for the waiver by a vote of a majority of the members of the board;
Approval for the waiver by a vote of a majority of the educators employed at each campus for which the waiver is sought; and
Evidence that the voting occurred during the school year and in a manner that ensured that all educators entitled to vote had a reasonable opportunity to participate in the voting.
Neither the board nor the superintendent may compel a waiver of rights under Education Code 21.7061.
Not later than April 1 of the year in which the waiver application is submitted, the Commissioner shall notify the district in writing whether the application has been granted or denied. A waiver expires when the waiver is no longer necessary to carry out the purposes of the program, in accordance with the district's local educator excellence innovation plan.
Education Code Ch. 21, Subch. O; 19 TAC 102.1073
A district may assign a mentor teacher to each classroom teacher who has less than two years of teaching experience in the subject or grade level to which the teacher is assigned. A teacher assigned as a mentor must:
To the extent practicable, teach in the same school;
To the extent practicable, teach the same subject or grade level, as applicable; and
Meet the qualifications prescribed by Commissioner's rules.
The Commissioner's rules must require that a mentor teacher:
Complete a research-based mentor and induction training program approved by the Commissioner;
Complete a training program provided by the district; and
Have at least three complete years of teaching experience with a superior record of assisting students, as a whole, in achieving improvement in student performance.
A district may apply to the Commissioner for funds for a mentor teacher program. A district may use the funds only for providing:
Mentor teacher stipends;
Scheduled release time for mentor teachers and the classroom teachers to whom they are assigned for meeting and engaging in mentoring activities; and
Mentoring support through providers of mentor training.
Education Code 21.458; 19 TAC 153.1011
Master Teacher Grant Programs
The Commissioner shall establish master reading, mathematics, technology, and science teacher grant programs to encourage teachers to become certified as master teachers and to work with other teachers and students to improve student performance. Education Code 21.410–.413
A district may apply to the Commissioner for grants for each identified high-need campus to be used to pay year-end stipends to certified master teachers.
Use of Funds
Grant funds may be used only for the purpose of paying a year-end stipend to a master teacher whose primary duties are to teach reading, mathematics, technology, or science and to serve as a reading, mathematics, technology, or science teacher mentor for the amount of time and in the manner established by the district.
The Commissioner shall reduce payments to a district proportionately to the extent a teacher does not meet the requirements for a master teacher for the entire school year.
If a teacher qualifies as a master teacher for a partial month, a district's written policy will determine how the district counts the partial month, for example, as no month served or as an entire month served. Only whole months shall be entered on the application by a district on the teacher's behalf.
Education Code sections 21.410–.413 do not create a property right to a grant or stipend. A master teacher stipend is not considered in determining whether the district is paying the teacher the minimum monthly salary under Education Code 21.402.
Designation of Teacher
A district that employs more certified master teachers than the number of grants available shall designate which certified master teacher(s) to assign the duties required to receive the state stipends. The designation is based on a written policy adopted by the board. A district's decision is final and may not be appealed.
A district may not apportion among teachers a stipend paid with a grant the district receives under this program. A district may use local money to pay additional stipends in amounts determined by the district.
Education Code 21.410–.413; 19 TAC Ch. 102, Subch. BB
Achievement Academy Stipends
A stipend received by a teacher who attends a literacy achievement, mathematics achievement, or a reading-to-learn academy is not considered in determining whether a district is paying the teacher the minimum monthly salary under Education Code 21.402. Education Code 21.4552(d), .4553(d), .4554(d)
A stipend received by a school counselor or teacher who attends a postsecondary education and career counseling academy under Education Code 33.009 is not considered in determining whether a district is paying the school counselor or teacher the minimum monthly salary under Education Code 21.402. Education Code 33.009(h)
A district may not offer or provide a financial or other incentive to an employee to encourage the employee to retire from the Teacher Retirement System of Texas. Education Code 22.007
A district shall not deny an educator a salary bonus or similar compensation given in whole or in part on the basis of educator attendance because of the educator's absence from school for observance of a religious holy day observed by a religion whose places of worship are exempt from property taxation under Tax Code 11.20. Education Code 21.406