Lawmakers at the state Capitol are trying to determine what measures they might take during the upcoming legislative session to provide Texas teachers with better financial incentives to remain in their current district.
According to Texas Education Agency, the average salary for Texas teachers is just over $50,000 a year, and the minimum salary standard set is just over $28,000.
TEA Commissioner Mike Morath told the members of the House Committee on Public Education that teachers’ salaries greatly differ from one school district to the next. But he doesn't think an across-the-board raise to keep teachers in their current districts is the solution.
Morath said that a teacher's motivation to work in one school district over another is a more important factor lawmakers should consider.
“At your highest-needs campuses, you get a lot of missionaries because they want to work in the neediest environment. But once you get past ‘missionary zeal,’ it’s a lot easier to work in Lake Travis than it is in the Third Ward of Houston,” Morath said. “Basically, the system incentivizes teachers to move steadily to the suburbs as they get better and better.”
Morath said some districts have implemented their own incentive programs, and some have been successful, but they are expensive.
State lawmakers are considering legislation during the session that would raise the base pay for all Texas teachers.