February 2015

HR Services’ contract practices survey reveals common practices

In late 2014, HR Services administered three separate surveys regarding Texas school district employment contracts: superintendent contracts, teacher contracts, and administrator and professional support contracts.

Superintendent contracts

According to the survey, the typical length of a Texas superintendent’s contract term is three years (66 percent). Nearly all districts (96 percent) reported that the board of trustees takes action to extend the superintendent’s contract each year if performance is satisfactory. January is the month when most districts (71 percent) look to extend the superintendent’s contract.
 

 
In regard to superintendent performance evaluations and pay increases, rarely are annual increases to base salary guaranteed. Less than 15 percent of respondents answered, “Yes, the superintendent’s contract guarantees an annual increase.” Of those districts that do guarantee some type of increase, nearly half (48 percent) indicated that the amount of the pay raise is determined by the board of trustees.

Teacher contracts

Seventy-four percent of responding districts provide probationary contracts for three years for newly hired teachers with less than five years of experience. For experienced teachers new to the district with five or more years of experience (in the previous eight years), most respondents (94 percent) offer a one-year probationary contract.
 
We also surveyed for contract practices of common extracurricular assignments. Employment contracts for this group appear to be split among districts. For head football coach, 40 percent of districts give a dual-assignment teacher/coach contract, while 39 percent provide an administrator contract. For high school band director, 45 percent of districts offer a teacher contract with no contract for band duties, while 42 percent give a dual assignment teacher/band director contract.


Administrator and professional support contracts 

Seventy-two percent of responding districts use probationary contracts for new campus administrators. The standard length of term contracts for campus principals is two years in more than half of districts (62 percent). For assistant principals, a one-year term contract is most common among respondents (64 percent).
 
In addition, the survey covered employment contracts for noncertified administrators and professionals. Contracts for professional support positions that do not require State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) certification are most commonly either noncertified contracts (non-Chapter 21 contracts)—39 percent of districts; or Chapter 21 contracts—38 percent of districts.
 
District administrators in positions that do not require SBEC certification are given a noncertified contract (non-Chapter 21 contract) in 42 percent of districts, while 31 percent of districts reported offering no contract.
 
To get this data, HR Services surveyed 943 TASB HR Services public school member districts from November through December 2014. Our response rate varied by survey: superintendent contracts, 34.4 percent (324 districts); teacher contract practices, 32.4 percent (306 districts); and administrator and professional support contract practices, 30.9 percent (292 districts).
 
HR Services member districts can participate and view the full results by visiting HR Surveys in DataCentral.