AUSTIN, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Officials with the office of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the Texas Education Agency announced that the state’s Teacher Vacancy Task Force has released its final report aimed at addressing school district staffing challenges in Texas.

This task force began in March 2022, according to a news release from Abbott’s office, helping districts address staffing retention and recruitment. Three area representatives from the Texas Panhandle were included in the task force, including Kisaundra Harris, a forensic science and anatomy and physiology teacher at Tascosa High School, Chris Tatum, the chief human resources officer for Amarillo ISD and Christie Volmer, the chief human resources officer for Hereford ISD.

“Educating Texas students is crucial for the continued success of our great state, and teachers play a pivotal role in that success,” Abbott said in the release. “I thank the teachers and school leaders on this task force for their work addressing full-time and substitute teacher vacancies in Texas schools. Their recommendations will help ensure that best practices and resources are available for teacher recruitment and retention. Working with the Texas legislature, we will develop and implement strategies that attract, retain, and support highly qualified educators to provide students across the state with even greater opportunities to learn and grow.”

Recommendations in the final report included:

  • Funding an increase to overall teacher salaries through an increase to the basic allotment, an increase in the minimum salary schedule, and expansion of strategic compensation systems, such as the Teacher Incentive Allotment;
  • Expanding high-quality Grow-Your-Own pathways, teacher apprenticeships and full-year, paid, teacher residencies;
  • Funding for and increasing the scale of the Mentor Program Allotment;
  • Funding, professional learning and support for teachers to access and utilize High Quality Instructional Materials;
  • Conducting teacher time studies and providing technical assistance for districts to develop strategic staffing and scheduling models that respect teacher time.

“Teachers are the single most important in-school factor in the educational outcomes of students, and we must ensure they feel valued, supported, and able to remain in the classroom, if they so choose,” Morath said in the release. “The work of the task force has further illuminated critical issues facing Texas public schools and has provided concrete steps to move forward. I am grateful for their thoughtful and insightful approach to developing practical policy recommendations that help address these challenges.”

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