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No Changes to TASB Model Contracts in Response to HB 1605

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According to TASB Legal Services, there won’t be any updates to teacher contracts for 2024-2025 in response to House Bill (HB) 1605 of the 88th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature.

Districts using the TASB model contracts will not need to alter them to address the provisions of HB 1605, which were adopted as Texas Education Code (TEC) § 21.4045.

HB 1605 Provisions

HB 1605 added TEC § 21.4045, titled Planning and Noninstructional Duties of Teachers. This section includes two key elements related to planning and noninstructional teacher duties. First, the law allows, rather than requires, districts to enter into a supplemental duty agreement for initial lesson design or selecting instructional materials, if these duties aren’t assigned to all teachers.

The statute only addresses initial lesson design, which is creating detailed instructional materials from scratch, and selecting lesson plan materials and resources for the initial lesson design. The provisions in TEC § 21.4045 do not refer to regular or weekly lesson planning or outlining what will be taught and when. Lesson planning is expected of all teachers and is addressed in the responsibilities and duties of the HR Services model teacher job description:

Develop and implement lesson plans that fulfill the requirements of the district’s curriculum program and show written evidence of preparation as required. Prepare lessons that reflect accommodations for differences in individual student differences.

Teachers using unit or weekly lesson plans included in board-adopted tier one instructional materials may use the included plans to satisfy the regular lesson planning requirement.

The second key element in TEC § 21.4045 prohibits districts from requiring a classroom teacher of a foundation curriculum course to spend the planning and preparation time to which the teacher is entitled creating or selecting instructional materials. A teacher may choose to use the time for these purposes, but it may not be required. This applies to the planning and preparation period required by TEC § 21.404, which entitles a teacher to 450 minutes in each two-week period that must be in blocks of time of at least 45 minutes.

Remember, full-time teachers are exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). As exempt employees, teachers must receive the full salary for any week in which work is performed, regardless of the number of days or hours worked. If a teacher works additional hours outside the regular school schedule, they aren’t entitled to additional pay. Additional pay is only required if the district and teacher have a supplemental agreement for a duty or duties not assigned to all teachers.

Contracts and Supplemental Duty Agreements

Educator employment contracts are governed by Chapter 21 of the Texas Education Code. TASB model contracts include a provision requiring employees to perform the duties of their assigned positions. Because HR Services’ model teacher job description includes lesson planning in the responsibilities and duties of all teachers, teachers are contractually obligated to develop and implement lesson plans as part of district employment.

Generally, supplemental duty agreements detail any assignment outside of the terms of the contract. This type of agreement is an at-will agreement, allowing either party to terminate the assignment at any time, for any reason. A sample Model Assignment of Supplemental Duties is available in the HR Services Resource Library (member login required). If a district opts to use a supplemental duty agreement, Chapter 21 protections will not apply to this agreement. Supplemental duty agreements are not referred to as contracts in the school district setting.

Districts have noted that TEC § 21.4045(c) references a supplemental duty agreement and have asked if a supplemental duty agreement is required by this provision. Subsection (c) refers to TEC § 21.4045(a), which is permissive. As described above TEC §21.4045(a) allows, rather than requires, districts to enter into a supplemental duty agreement for initial lesson design or selecting instructional materials if these duties aren’t assigned to all teachers. If a district does not opt to enter into such a supplemental agreement as described in TEC § 21.4045(a), then there is no need to offer teachers supplemental agreements.

School district administrators should understand that keeping the contract and supplemental duty agreement separate is important. If the supplemental agreement is included as an addendum to the contract, the duty may not be considered an at-will assignment. Chapter 21 terms and procedures outlined in Chapter 21 will arguably apply to that duty.

Moving Forward

Districts don’t need to take any action to update teacher contracts to comply with TEC § 21.4045. However, districts that wish to enter into a supplemental duty agreement for any duty not covered by a teacher’s Chapter 21 contract may use the HR Services’ model, which details the assignment and notifies the teacher of the amount of stipend to be paid. Any district using a supplemental duty agreement should take care to maintain language in the contract and agreement that separates the supplemental duty from the contracted position.

Districts with questions may contact TASB HR Services and should seek advice from local counsel.

This article was prepared in consultation with TASB Legal Services.

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April Mabry
April Mabry
TASB HR Services Assistant Director

April Mabry oversees HR Services training services, member library products, and the HRX newsletter. She has provided HR training and guidance to Texas public schools  since 1991. Mabry was a classroom teacher for 11 years in Texas and Michigan.

Mabry has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Michigan and certification as a professional in human resources (PHR) and is a SHRM-CP.

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