A little over a year ago the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees approved doing the Teacher Incentive Fund program. This program is funded through a grant from the U. S. Department of Education to the tune of $22 million over five years. It's designed to pay teachers who's students show academic improvement.
NEA-Dallas has, and will continue to, oppose this program for two very good reasons: 1) Employees do not have a rock-solid base salary schedule that is contracted and mandated to be met by the Board of Trustees each year; and, 2) The instruments used to determine this incentive pay, the Classroom Effectiveness Index (CEI) and School Effectiveness Index (SEI), in our opinion, are invalid. I will give you one of many examples on how we believe this to be so.
Ninth (9th) Grade Science teachers have their CEI's calculated by using their students' Eighth (8th) Grade Reading Scores. Since the there is no science test in 8th grade, the district uses the reading score for the baseline. You can not compare reading scores to science scores and be accurate. That's like comparing oranges to corn. It just does not compute. But, that's what the district is doing.
Now it has come time for these teachers who participated in the program to be paid. Many have been paid from the Federal Grant money, but over one hundred (100) others are unable to be paid from the grant. Why? Because their administrator did not do their second observation as required by the law that legislated the grant.
As a result, the DISD Administration now has to go before the Board and ask them to approve $450,000 from the General Operating budget to pay these teachers tomorrow night. These teachers have met the criterion that they have control over to earn this award.
This is about keeping promises, not philosophical differences. The Board promised these teachers the money last year when they approved this program over our objections. Now, because administration has fallen down on the job, again, the Board must step in and make sure it happens. Therefore, I will be asking the Trustees to support paying these teachers from the General Operating budget.
I will, however, urge the Trustees to require that this money be cut from the Administration's budget and that wording actually be put it in the motion. If they don't, then the Administration can get the money from where ever they want to.
I am also cautioning the Trustees that this may not be the last time that the Administration comes before them asking for money for this. The reason being is that this amount only covers the teachers who filed an appeal with the TIF Appeals Committee. If this is approved, then the teachers who did not appeal, may come back and file grievances against the district to get their share as well. I believe that total amount will be closer to $1 million rather than what is being requested tomorrow night.