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      Grants to replace merit pay for teachers

      AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - State merit pay for Texas teachers will be replaced next year with grants meant to help instructors at poorer schools improve their skills.

      The Dallas Morning News ( http://dallasne.ws/19IBhBh ) reported Sunday that tight budgets and education funding cuts since 2011 prompted the changes.

      The 2013 Legislature passed a measure eliminating merit pay, known as District Awards for Teacher Excellence, or DATE. The last bonus checks were distributed this fall. Roughly 18,000 educators qualified based on performance in the 2012-13 school year.

      Lawmakers decided to move the remaining $24 million earmarked for merit pay to the new Educator Excellence Innovation Program.

      Grants will be available to schools where at least half of the students are educationally disadvantaged. Teachers will be eligible for support such as mentoring and incentives to reduce teacher turnover.


      Information from: The Dallas Morning News, http://www.dallasnews.com

      (Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)