The Teacher Incentive Allotment/local teacher designation system was one of numerous programs in House Bill 3, the comprehensive school finance bill passed in the 86th legislative session in 2019.
There are two main parts to TIA: one is that teachers are identified and paid in part on student growth; another is that teachers who have National Board Certification automatically receive a Recognized rating along with teacher incentive allotment earnings.
For the aspect of the program in which teachers are identified and paid in part based on student growth, eligible districts must have adopted a local teacher designation system designating a certified classroom teacher as a Master, Exemplary, or Recognized teacher for a five-year period based on the results of single or multi-year appraisals that comply with T-TESS or a locally developed appraisal process as well as student growth.
TEA rules provide that the district utilize student growth measures such as:
Assessments used to measure student growth must be valid and reliable, and implemented with fidelity, according to vetted testing protocols.
The funding available for the teacher incentive allotment varies by designation:
Districts with designated teachers serving at rural schools and schools with high levels of socio-economic need will receive higher allotments. For example, the allotment for an Exemplary teacher at a rural school with the highest level of socio-economic need would receive $18,000.
Teachers holding National Board Certification are automatically awarded a Recognized designation, regardless of whether their school district has a local teacher designation system in place.
However, a key point, regardless of how the designation is earned, is that the funding does not go directly to the designated teacher. Rather, the funding goes to the teacher’s school district, with the requirement that the district must use at least 90% of the funds for teacher compensation on the campus where the designated teacher works.
Twenty-six districts were approved for the first Cohort (A) to offer teacher designation systems in 2019-20. The program distributed about $40 million to around 3,650 teachers across the state for the 2019-20 school year (as part of the settle-up process in September 2020).
More districts started the process of creating local designation systems in 2020-21, and others plan to begin in 2021-22.