Updated: Sunday, 23 Aug 2009, 2:46 PM CDT
Published : Sunday, 23 Aug 2009, 11:19 AM CDT
AUSTIN (AP/KXAN) - With most public schools opening Monday, some teachers will receive bonuses this fall from Texas' merit pay program.
The District Awards for Teacher Excellence, or DATE, is the largest merit pay plan in the nation. It is the successor program to the Governors Educator Excellence Grant and the Texas Educator Excellence Grant. Those two campus-based grant programs, distributed to improving schools, showed limited success, so lawmakers chose to end the use of the GEEG and TEEG programs last session.
Instead, Texas lawmakers set aside $397 million for the district-based DATE program during the next two years, although the House attempted to strip out all merit pay programs and, instead, give an across-the-board raise. The money was put back into the budget during the conference negotiations between the House and Senate.
The program is sending millions of dollars to Dallas and several other North Texas school districts that decided to participate.
About one in five districts in the state signed up for the plan last year and are expected to distribute bonuses -- based on 2009 Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills scores and other factors -- to qualifying teachers.
Some teacher organizations oppose giving extra money based on test scores.