Dallas ISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa will be in Austin Thursday to lobby for more money for educators from starting teachers' pay to performance-based pay for veteran teachers.
"We'll put in additional dollars so teachers can get to the higher levels faster," Hinojosa said. "It's an irony that these teachers are already performing at that level, but since we couldn't afford it, we couldn't pay them at that level. So now we'll be able to pay them at the level they've earned."
Jennifer Belchi Segura is among the DISD teachers who is considered a "master teacher," earning at least $90,000 a year.
"It really encourages me to do the best I can," Belchi Segura said. She used to teach in Spain. "Teachers now are getting paid on their performance. It's not about how many years they are teaching."
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"That's a great idea," said Rena Honea, president of Texas Alliance Federation of Teachers. "But still there will be many of our teachers that are left out again."
Honea said teachers who instruct non-core classes and those in under-performing schools were at a disadvantage.
"Many of our magnet school teachers and our higher socioeconomic status campuses, the teachers at those campuses make a larger salary, just because of where they are," Honea said.
Hinojosa said DISD uses several metrics, not just test scores, to credit teachers for performance.
"It compares your kids to kids just like yours all over Dallas and how much you move the needle," Hinojosa said. "So whichever measure we use that makes the teacher look the best, that's what they get and that equalizes the playing field."
Hinojosa said he wanted to increase starting teacher pay from $52,000 a year to $54,000 a year, and more than double the number of teachers getting incentive pay through the district's Teacher Excellence Initiative system.
That would depend on what passes in the legislature, which has until May 31 to finalize school finance legislation. The district's budget is due in June.
"We're in the fourth quarter," Hinojosa said. "We just hope we don't go into sudden death or overtime. We need to get this thing fixed up here at the end. A lot of people are depending on us to solve these problems."