Teachers across Houston ISD received emails this week informing them they will not be receiving overtime pay for extra hours worked this school year, as they have in years past. The news came alongside changes to some stipends in the district.
This summer, state-appointed Superintendent Mike Miles said that he would not change the district's compensation manual, other than to increase pay for teachers at the district's New Education System campuses.
"The manual has not changed," Miles said. "I’ve done nothing to the manual."
However, according to this year's version, stipends for positions that are hard to fill, like special education, and high school math and science, have been slashed by thousands of dollars.
Last year, special education teachers who filled such positions received $5,000 stipends, while high school math and science teachers, along with career and technical education instructors, received stipends of $2,000. This year, however, each of those stipends has been reduced to $1,000.
Miles said the cuts are offset by additional stipends given to teachers at New Education System schools this year.
"At 85 schools, those changes are because those teachers are getting a $10,000 stipend, and at those 85 schools, about 1,000 teachers got a $15,000 increase to base salary," he said.
However, the stipend cuts in the compensation manual will take effect district-wide, not just at the 85 NES campuses. Teachers at other schools will not receive a raise and additional $10,000 to offset cuts to their stipends.
Meanwhile, teachers around the district received emails this week indicating they should not expect overtime pay this year.
"Teachers in HISD are professional and exempt employees," the email read. "For exempt staff, completion of work assignment is a primary emphasis. Since there is no overtime pay for exempt staff, the number of hours is of secondary importance."
It went on to explain that overtime pay is not required by federal law or local policy and is at the discretion of campus leadership.
Miles said, when it comes to overtime pay, he's trying to change the mentality in the district.
"Teachers teach, and they are exempt employees. That's the job. We are not clock-in, clock-out people," he said. "There is no culture here where we're going to pay teachers overtime hours for doing their job."
Miles said, in general, the new compensation manual applies to all teachers, including those who signed their contracts before this year's manual was released.
"Generally speaking, the compensation manual is the compensation manual for all teachers," said Miles.
He added that teachers who do overtime work that involves an additional role, such as coaching a school sports team, will receive additional compensation.