Nearly 100 districts statewide may have a teacher on staff with a designation under the Teacher Incentive Allotment (TIA) for 2020–2021 but are currently without an approved local designation system in place.
Teachers hired into districts this year may have received designation in a previous district or recently may have achieved National Board certification, and the spending requirements could come as a surprise to districts that weren’t intending to create their own local designation system or are still working on it. These districts will need to be prepared to spend the allocation they’ll receive from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) no later than August 31, 2021.
TEA staff have reached out to the 92 districts with designees, as of the fall PEIMS data, that currently have no approved local designation system. Those districts should be aware of their obligations for later this school year. TEA will again communicate to all districts with designated teachers in April with specifics about the anticipated payments needed, based on the location of designated teachers in the February winter staff roster PEIMS data. TEA has created a recorded webinar to help districts learn about the requirements for spending and funding.
Districts with designated teachers need to take some steps as soon as possible to avoid issues with gift of public funds and educator contract protections.
If a spending plan for TIA funds is not already included in the compensation plan adopted by the board for the 2020–2021 school year, these districts need to adopt a revision to the compensation plan to provide guidelines for distributing TIA funds. Our compensation plan template includes two options for distributing funds, and both are compliant with TIA spending rules.
Once the option for spending TIA funds is chosen, the board of trustees should formally adopt the revised compensation plan to grant the district permission to pay teachers according to TIA requirements. The Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) may also request a copy of the approved compensation plan to support a determination that the payments can be considered creditable compensation.
Districts also should ensure they’re using TASB Model Contracts as they get ready to issue contracts for the next school year. Language in the model contracts within the “compensation” section points to the district’s compensation plan, which removes the need for districts to craft specialized contract language to account for TIA payments.
Amy Campbell is director at TASB HR Services. Send Amy an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay up to date with all the latest HR news and trends by joining the HRX mailing list!