AUSTIN (October 14, 2013)--State merit pay for Texas teachers will be replaced next year with grants, which are intended to help instructors at poorer schools improve their skills.
Tight budgets and education funding cuts since 2011 led to the changes.
Earlier this year the Legislature passed a measure eliminating merit pay under what was known as District Awards for Teacher Excellence, or DATE.
The last bonus checks were distributed this fall to about 18,000 educators who qualified based on performance in the 2012-13 school year.
Lawmakers decided to move the remaining $24 million earmarked for merit pay to the new Educator Excellence Innovation Program.
Grants will be available to schools at which at least half of the students are educationally disadvantaged.
Teachers will be eligible for support such as mentoring and incentives to reduce teacher turnover.