Recent staffing changes at the Texas Education Agency (TEA) provide an opportunity for HR Services to support educational entities with their service record needs.
In the past, one TEA staff member was designated to assist with service record questions. Now questions are sent to the State Board for Education Certification (SBEC) Help Desk. SBEC staff responding to service record questions are including HR Services contact information on the response for additional assistance.
Service Record Defined
A teacher service record (FIN-115) or a similar form containing the same information is the official document used to record years of service and days used and accumulated under the state’s former minimum sick leave program or the state’s current personal leave program.
Rules for determining creditable service for employees subject to the state minimum salary schedule and navigating service record challenges can be found in 19 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §§ 153.1011 and 153.1013 known as commissioners rules, available in the HR Library (member login required).
Below is a summary of some of the most recent inquiries received by HR Services.
How should state personal leave be managed by charter schools?
Individuals may work for public school districts and charter schools during their careers. State sick and personal leave transfers among Texas public school districts. State personal leave accrued by an employee of a regional service center is transferrable to a public school district. State sick leave and state personal leave accrued by an employee of the Harris County Department of Education and Dallas County Schools also are transferrable to a public school district.
Employees of charter schools do not earn state personal leave. Charter schools are not required to recognize and accept leave earned in a public school. When an employee is hired by a charter school, their service record is submitted to the charter to determine creditable years of experience. Best practice is for the charter school to disregard the state leave balance since the days are not transferrable. If the employee leaves the charter school and returns to the public school district, the leave earned at the charter doesn’t transfer—only leave from their prior public school districts is credited.
Can a substitute earn creditable service?
Yes, beginning with the 1998–1999 school year, a certified substitute is eligible for creditable service if they are employed in an entity recognized for years of service as identified in the commissioner’s rules. The substitute must hold a valid Texas teaching certificate or a valid teaching certificate in the state where the school is located at the time the service was earned.
Why do some service records have a category called pay step and others have one called years of experience?
The category “pay step” changed to “years of experience” in the early 2000’s. The school year the service was earned will determine which title is used for the category.
Additionally, members have asked for clarification on how to determine what is recorded in the years of experience category. The number entered in this category should be the individual’s actual experience as of September 1 of the school year indicated in column one (school year). Additional years for career ladder, career and technology education work experience, or qualified teacher aide experience should not be included in this category but should be recorded as a footnote on the service record.
Who is responsible for correcting errors on a service record?
When a school district is calculating an individual’s creditable years of experience, it is important for the district to pay close attention to each record. Developing a system for accurately capturing all experience is important. It is through this type of process that districts often find errors on other school district service records.
The school district who creates a service record is responsible for making corrections to that record. If an error is determined, the receiving school district should notify the school district where the error occurred and request that the record be corrected. Sometimes an error will go unnoticed resulting in errors on multiple records. Making these corrections may be tedious but it is important that school districts work collaboratively to ensure that all records accurately reflect an individual’s creditable years of service.
Service Record Management is a one-hour webinar created to provide basic knowledge and guidance on evaluating an individual’s creditable service, identifying best practices for maintaining service records, and recording state sick and personal leave. It includes scenarios for viewers to better understand application of the commissioner’s rules.
HR Services also offers a one-day training on service record management. This training is offered during the year as a statewide training or may be offered as virtual or local in-person district training. Topics covered include the following:
- Creating compliant service records
- Calculating creditable service
- Maintaining service records
- Recording and calculating state sick and personal leave
- Identifying creditable service entities
HRX articles written on the topic of service records or creditable years of service include:
Karen Dooley joined HR Services in 2016. She provides oversight to a team of consultants providing staffing services, HR reviews, and other projects. She provides training and assists school districts with their HR-related needs. Dooley is a seasoned administrator with more than 17 years of HR experience in Central Texas districts as a coordinator, director, and assistant superintendent. She also worked as an assistant principal, counselor, and teacher, and holds a superintendent certificate.
Dooley received her master’s degree from Prairie View A&M University and her bachelor’s degree from Texas State University.
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