Texas Governor Rick Perry has issued an executive order establishing a new incentive-based pay system smartly targeted at 100 high-needs schools statewide. Schools that show improvement (precise benchmarks have yet to be determined) will be eligible for a grant of $100,000 or more, to be passed out among the school's staff. School officials will have the discretion to distribute the grant money as they see fit, as long as 75% of it goes directly to teachers. This announcement comes as a pleasant surprise given the State Legislature's earlier struggle (and ultimate failure) to pass a merit pay plan.
Unfortunately, Perry's initiative is funded by $10 million in discretionary federal funds, which means the state may or may not have funds next year at bonus time. However, Perry is hoping to bring in $25 million of state funding next year and expand the program to 250 campuses.