Comp News – Texas is planning to give some of its best teachers an incentive bonus to teach at low-income schools that have been wrecked by the effects of COVID-19.

The new bonus structure would pay out between $3,000 to $32,000 in stipends based on two factors: the first being the “tier” of poverty the school is designated to and the second being the “quality” of excellence in the selected teacher, a rating which is determined by the appropriate school district.

The new infusion of state funds from the Texas Education Agency’s Teacher Incentive Allotment will not only boost existing stipends, but fundamentally bend the concept of “incentive pay” toward equity using a payout structure that rewards the work done by excellent teachers in high-poverty schools.

 

Right now, the average teacher salary in San Antonio ISD is $57,000. Teachers with the highest designation at San Antonio ISD’s lowest-income schools will make an extra $26,500 this year. At the district’s highest-income schools, the largest stipend will be $18,500. With additional stipends from clubs, department leadership and athletics, some teachers will make over $100,000.

Other incentive programs available for teachers are measured by the progress of students’ standardized testing. This way of determining compensation by means of student performance has received criticism, with some educators alleging that the pressure to make students perform is the wrong way to promote student growth.

Incentive programs like this (sometimes called merit or performance pay) are controversial among teachers, who say they create classes of teachers and put even more pressure on high-stakes testing. Most districts go with “steps and lanes” salary schedules based on years of experience and degrees held.

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