Senate Bill 893, co-authored by Senator Seliger and Senator Campbell, is creating quite a bit of conversation across the state about changes in teacher pay. When the bill was released, everyone quickly focused an the verbiage about the removal of the minimum pay scale for teachers and a starting pay not to go below $2,750 per month, which is the current minimum pay for a teacher at state step 0.
Do not be concerned with the minimum pay language in this bill. White Oak ISD eliminated the state minimum pay scale years ago when we adopted a pay scale that pays above state base. Only 11 school districts in the state still pay minimum scale. There will be zero school districts in the state that will operate without a pay scale that acknowledges years of service, including White Oak ISD. I do not know if SB 893 will pass the house and/or come out of conference committee to be presented for the Governor’s signature. I do know that White Oak ISD will have a pay scale that remains very similar to the one currently in place. I do know that none of our teachers will experience a decrease in pay based on any part of this piece of legislation.
The true “issue” of this bill is in the language about value added portions of the teacher appraisal process. This language is intended to promote the use of student’s assessments in the teacher appraisal process. I have been and will continue to be opposed to this data for the purpose of determining the job performance of an educator. If required by statute to implement some form of this process, we will use multiple assessments and rely heavily on locally developed assessments to ensure that our faculty gets credit for the outstanding efforts applied each day in meeting the needs of our students. I am open to the idea of rewarding outstanding educators. I have not seen the system that will do that in an acceptable manner as of yet.
Finally, when you are reading the posts on Facebook, tweets and comments in all media outlets, examine the level of trust implied by those contributing to the conversation. In my nearly eight years at White Oak ISD as Superintendent, the students, faculty, staff and leadership team have always been my highest priority. Programs are not preferred over people in White Oak ISD. That set of priorities will not change due to the passing of a piece of legislation. The strength of this district is in the people of this district. I know that and your Board of Trustees knows that as well. Slighting our personnel to put money in the bank has not been, is not and will not be the priority of anyone in leadership at White Oak ISD.