February 2017, Vol. 1

Surveys on contract practices reveal common trends

by Troy Bryant

HR Services offers a series of ongoing surveys in DataCentral regarding school district employment contracts. These surveys cover Texas public school district practices for superintendent contracts, teacher contracts, and administrator and professional support contracts. We highlight common practices using the most current data from these surveys.

Superintendent contracts

Among survey respondents, the typical length of a superintendent’s contract term is three years (67 percent). Nearly all respondents (96 percent) reported that the board of trustees takes action to extend the superintendent’s contract each year if performance is satisfactory. Most districts (73 percent) try to extend the superintendent’s contract in the month of January.

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In regard to superintendent performance evaluations and pay increases, rarely are annual increases to base salary guaranteed (14 percent). Of those that have a guarantee, about half indicated the amount of the pay raise is determined by the board of trustees each year.

Teacher contracts

Three-quarters 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. For high school band director, 43 percent of districts offer a teacher contract with no contract for band duties and 43 percent give a dual assignment teacher/band director contract. For head football coach, 40 percent of districts give a dual-assignment teacher/coach contract and 40 percent provide an administrator contract.

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Administrator and professional support contracts 

Seventy-one percent of responding districts use probationary contracts for new campus administrators. The standard length of term contracts for campus principals is two years in most responding districts (62 percent). For assistant principals, a one-year term contract is most common among respondents (64 percent).
 
In addition, the survey covers 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 Chapter 21 contracts—39 percent of districts—or noncertified contracts (non-Chapter 21 contracts)—37 percent of districts.
 
District administrators in positions that do not require SBEC certification are given a noncertified contract (non-Chapter 21 contract) in 39 percent of districts, while 31 percent of districts reported offering no contract.
 
TASB HR Services surveys public school member districts through DataCentral. As of January 2017, data for these surveys were collected from 319 (superintendent contracts), 297 (teacher contract practices), and 284 (administrator and professional support contract practices) participating districts. Member districts can participate and view the full results by visiting DataCentral.