Emma Darling

Teacher pay has been a recent source of communal outrage all over the news and social media. The general consensus is that we should be paying teachers more, but who in Texas actually decides what the average K-12 teacher makes?

Full-time Texas teachers, speech pathologists, librarians, nurses, and counselors are paid based upon their years of service through what the state calls a salary schedule[1] which can be found in Texas Education Code section 21.402. This salary schedule increases incrementally each year based upon the teacher’s experience. These yearly increases in salary are referred to as “steps” in the schedule. The scale begins at zero years of service and gradually rises through “twenty and over” years. The rules on creditable years of service can be found in Texas Education Code sections 153.1021 and 153.1022.

Under Texas Education Code section 21.401, the minimum salary schedule is the minimum payment allowed by law for teachers employed under a 10-month contract who provide a minimum of 187 days of service. This salary schedule is reexamined and republished for each school year by the Commissioner of Education by June 1. The last time the scale was changed was between the school years of 2018-2019 and 2019-2020. Since the 2019-2020 school year the schedule has not changed.

While the Texas Education Code has contained provisions related to minimum salaries for decades, the current structure for the salary schedule was established in 1995 when the entire Education Code was re-written. Prior to 1995, the same salary schedule covered a wide variety of school district personnel, including principals, superintendents, and other professional support staff such as therapists and diagnosticians. The schedule originally only went up to ten years of experience and was based on only 183 days of service.

School districts are allowed to pay more than the salary schedule, but are not allowed to go below the state imposed minimum. For the academic year 2022-2023, a brand new teacher with zero years of experience under the minimum salary schedule must make at least $33,660.00 annually. A teacher who has taught twenty or more years in the school year of 2022-2023 should make at least $54,540.00. According to the Texas Education Agency, the 2022-2023 statewide average base pay for teachers is $60,716.00[2], far above the minimum salary schedule. Below this article is a comparison chart of five districts around Dallas to show just how far above average Dallas school districts pay their teachers.

The Texas legislature will have a few bills to consider which may raise teacher pay for the upcoming school year. House Bill 1548 would give teachers a $15,000 raise by adjusting the minimum salary schedule. House Bill 882 would increase the amount of money districts get per student, which would mean more money for teacher raises because school districts are required to use thirty percent of any new revenue they receive from the state for employee salary increases. We’ll see what the upcoming legislative session has in store…the change in teacher pay is in their hands.


  Dallas ISD Richardson ISD Arlington ISD Garland ISD Mesquite ISD
0 $60,000 $57,000 $60,400 $60,000 $57,400
1 $60,500 $57,275 $60,900 $60,275 $57,783
2 $61,000 $57,500 $61,400 $60,539 $58,172
3 $61,750 $57,825 $61,900 $60,846 $58,594
4 $62,500 $58,100 $62,400 $61,194 $58,922
5 $63,250 $58,375 $62,900 $61,570 $59,374
6 $63,750 $58,650 $63,400 $61,821 $59,824
7 $64,250 $58,925 $63,900 $62,439 $60,284
8 $64,650 $59,200 $64,400 $62,808 $61,816
9 $64,950 $59,475 $64,900 $63,158 $62,297
10 $65,450 $59,750 $65,400 $63,458 $62,670
11 DISD does not release above 10 years $60,025 $65,900 $63,758 $63,045
12   $60,300 $66,400 $64,058 $63,416
13   $60,575 $66,900 $64,358 $63,798
14   $60,850 $67,400 $64,708 $64,185
15   $61,125 $67,900 $65,008 $64,454
16   $61,400 $68,400 $65,434 $64,722
17   $61,675 $68,900 $65,733 $64,991
18   $61,950 $69,400 $66,029 $65,260
19   $62,225 $69,900 $66,329 $65,529
20+   $62,500 $70,400 $66,728 $65,797

[1] https://tea.texas.gov/texas-educators/salary-and-service-record/minimum-salary-schedule/2022-2023-minimum-salary-schedule

[2] https://rptsvr1.tea.texas.gov/cgi/sas/broker


Emma Darling is a senior associate at Eichelbaum Wardell Hansen Powell & Muñoz, P.C. where her practice mainly focuses on student issues, labor and employment, and real estate. On the weekends you’ll find her trying out new coffee shops around the metroplex. She can be reached at ejd@edlaw.com.


Articles on the DAYL website are provided for informational use only, and are in no way intended to constitute legal advice or the opinions or views of the DAYL.