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Gov. Perry Orders Incentive Pay Program for Texas Teachers

Location: San Antonio, TX

Gov. Perry Orders Incentive Pay Program for Texas Teachers

Executive Action Includes New Funds for Supply Reimbursements, Expanded Advancement Programs

Gov. Rick Perry today issued an executive order directing Education Commissioner Shirley Neeley to establish a new incentive-based pay system for Texas teachers who succeed in economically disadvantaged schools.

"Educators do much more than teach students how to read, write and multiply," he said. "They inspire children to strive for new heights, they encourage them to realize their fullest potential and they provide a positive role model young Texans can look up to each and every day. Every time a teacher walks through the classroom doors, young lives and the future of Texas changes for the better."

Under Perry's directive, schools that serve a large population of economically disadvantaged students that show marked improvement in student performance will be eligible for a grant of at least $100,000. Local school officials will have discretion to distribute the grant to the teachers they determine are having the greatest impact. The executive order also requires that a minimum of 75 percent of the grant must go directly to the hardworking teachers who are improving the learning environment.

The incentive-pay program created by the governor's executive order will be funded by $10 million in discretionary federal funds and is very similar to the incentive proposal agreed to by legislators in the conference committee report for House Bill 2. That funding will provide $100,000 grants to 100 campuses statewide. Perry also said he will ask the Legislative Budget Board to authorize another $25 million in funding, which would expand the program to an additional 250 campuses.

Perry also took separate action to direct the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to continue a program that reimburses teachers for supplies they purchase for their classroom and to expand participation in the Teacher Advancement Program.

"Too often, the quiet dedication of Texas teachers goes unheralded but when it comes to the future of this state, few are in a position to have a greater impact than the men and women who answer the calling of the classroom," Perry said. "While the legislature adjourned with little success, the need for education reform is simply too great to wait for lawmakers to overcome their differences. That is why I am committed to implementing essential education reforms using the full power and authority of the executive branch."

Two years ago, Perry ordered the creation of a teacher reimbursement program that has already helped provide nearly $5 million directly to teachers who buy supplies for their students. Because of this program, teachers will be eligible to receive up to $200 in reimbursements from the state and a matching amount from the local school district, Parent-Teacher Organization or a charitable group.

"I have instructed the TEA to provide an additional $2.5 million for the teacher reimbursement program so that more school districts can apply to participate, and more teachers can be rewarded for their generosity," Perry said. "Reimbursing supply expenses is the least the state can do for teachers who invest so much in our students."

Perry also noted the state's participation in the Teacher Advancement Program sponsored by the Milken Family Foundation. The goal of the program is to attract and retain good teachers by allowing them to earn higher salaries, creating peer-to-peer mentorship opportunities and by helping teachers develop new skills and then holding them accountable for how well they use those skills in the classroom. Three Richardson schools have been part of the state's pilot program.

"I have instructed TEA to provide $600,000 to expand the Teacher Advancement Program to six additional campuses," Perry said. "Teachers at these campuses will benefit from new professional development opportunities, new avenues for career advancement and a performance-based pay system that rewards those who are making the greatest difference in the lives of their students." The campuses have not yet been selected.

"The importance of an educator's calling, and the passion with which so many pursue it, should be reflected and rewarded in the paychecks they take home," Perry said. "I still believe the legislature needs to act on a pay raise for all Texas teachers, but until they do, I will continue to do all I can as governor to ensure that the worthy dream of being a teacher is one that is affordable for those who excel."

A complete copy of the executive order is available on the governor's website

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