KILGORE — Kilgore ISD plans to seek state funding to reward high-performing teachers with incentive pay.

Assistant Superintendent Richard Nash told trustees and administrators about the plan at a recent board meeting.

“Last fall, around December 2019, we began discussing the Teacher Incentive Allotment. It’s legislation (that) TEA came with in House Bill 3. It was one of the designations of systems that the state wanted to provide to help school districts give an option in recruiting, rewarding and retaining some highly effective teachers, especially with districts in rural areas,” Nash said.

House Bill 3 was a school finance bill that gave Texas school districts an influx of state funding.

Nash said KISD decided to pursue the incentive allotment with the help of Superintendent Andy Baker.

“This letter of intent did not obligate us for anything. It just says we’re interested and want to see what’s going on,” Nash said.

He said COVID-19 had “thrown a lot of things in the air” regarding school funding and finance, but noted the incentive allotment was supported by the state.

The next step in the plan is the creation of a local system to track and rate teacher performance. Teachers who wish to have their data analyzed for the allotment qualification must do so voluntarily.

“If we pursue this ... in the next few months we would need to create a local designation system. We work with our community and with a lot of our stakeholders to plan and prepare what we feel like we should use to measure teachers who ought to pursue this,” he said.

The system must include a consistent method of teacher observation. Nash noted KISD is already using a state-approved teacher observation system.

The district would also need to track student performance data to qualify.

“Once you create that plan ... we would have to develop our plan and submit it to TEA through a thorough approval process,” Nash said.

Following the approval would be the period of teacher observation and student performance tracking.

“Then we would determine who do we believe are recognized teachers or master teachers or exemplary teachers. Once you have those labeled, then you send it to TEA and they send it to Texas Tech University,” Nash said. “Yhey validate our measurement and they make sure everything is aligned. Once that happens, then the school district actually receives a certain amount of funds. Those funds have to be designated; 90% of those funds are designated to providing income to staff on that campus. That would be something that would be part of our plan.”

Trustees expressed enthusiasm for the plan, which will move forward in the coming weeks.

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