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Ghost Days & Reporting Dates for 2023-24

Ghost Days:
A Teacher Recruiting and Retention Strategy

The addition of Ghost Days is a recruiting and retention strategy introduced as a pilot program for the 2023-24 school year in response to the extreme teacher shortage facing public schools.  

Mesquite ISD recognizes that classroom teachers regularly devote significant time outside their regular work hours (evenings and weekends) to various responsibilities of their jobs. Ghost Days acknowledge that time and give classroom teachers credit for it by allowing them to report to work five days later than the First Work Day indicated on their contract calendar.

Important Terms:

Ghost Days — Classroom teachers will receive credit for working five days (Ghost Days) outside their regular workday hours. Five Ghost Days are understood to be included in the classroom teacher’s Contract Calendar (see next term) but are not shown on the Contract Calendar. Ghost Days apply to classroom teachers only. 

Contract Calendar — Each professional job code uses a Contract Calendar for payroll purposes. Each professional employee’s Contract Calendar includes a specific number of days he or she is scheduled to work. It also specifies the employee’s first and last work days for the contract year.

Reporting Date — The first day the employee reports to work is his or her Reporting Date. For employees other than classroom teachers, their Reporting Date will be the same as their First Work Day on their contract calendar. Classroom teachers will have a later reporting date than other professional employees on the same Contract Calendar. See the table below.

Classroom Teachers — Regarding Ghost Days, classroom teachers include teachers of record and SPED teachers, itinerant teachers, Quest teachers, ESL teachers and high school assistant band directors.

New Hires Not Eligible for Ghost Days in 2023

  • New Hires (professionals) will report to New Hire Camp on July 24, 2023. 
  • New Hires are not eligible for Ghost Days because they are required to attend New Hire Camp July 24-27, 2023. 
  • In previous years, New Hires received additional pay for attending New Hire Camp before their contracts started; however, because they are on contract July 24, MISD is not able to pay them for attending the camp in 2023.

GHOST DAYS: A Benefit for Classroom Teachers

Employees classified as classroom teachers, regardless of the number of days on their contract calendar, will receive credit for five Ghost Days during the 2023-24 school year. The first work day shown on their Contract Calendar and used for payroll purposes will be five days earlier than their Reporting Date. For classroom teachers on a 187-day contract, their Reporting Date will be July 31. All other professional employees on a 187-day contract will report to work on July 24.

While other employees often contribute time to their jobs outside of normal work hours, Ghost Days are a benefit explicitly designated for classroom teachers as a pilot program for the 2023-24 school year. MISD will evaluate this recruitment and retention strategy this year to determine its effectiveness and whether it will continue in the future.

The Athletics Department will notify all high school coaches about their reporting dates and whether Ghost Days apply to their particular contracts. Middle school coaches (187 days) are eligible for Ghost Days and should refer to the table below.


The following positions ARE eligible for Ghost Days*:

  • Elementary Grade-Level Teachers
  • PE, Music & Art Teachers
  • Middle & High School Subject Matter Teachers
  • SPED teachers (including co-teach)
  • Itinerant Teachers
  • Dyslexia Teachers
  • Vision Teachers
  • Deaf & Hard of Hearing Teachers
  • Academy Teachers
  • AVID Teachers
  • Credit Recovery Teachers
  • JROTC Instructors**
  • CTE Teachers
  • PACE Instructors
  • Acceleration Teachers
  • Middle School Coaches
  • Quest Teachers
  • Fine Arts Directors & Assistant Directors (except Head HS Band Directors)
  • ESL Teachers
  • Homebound Teachers
  • Adapted PE Teachers

*Reporting Date is 5 days after Contract Start Date.

**Per US Army contract rules, JROTC Instructors have an alternative reporting date, which will be communicated to them by the JROTC Office.

The following positions ARE NOT eligible for Ghost Days:

  • Testing Coordinators
  • Diagnosticians
  • Counselors
  • Nurses
  • Speech Language Pathologists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Physical Therapists
  • Audiologists
  • Instructional Technology Coaches
  • Assistive Technology Specialists
  • Facilitators/Specialists/Lead Teachers
  • Social Workers
  • Behavior Specialists
  • School Psychologists
  • SSTs
  • Librarians
  • 226-Day Personnel
  • Head HS Band Directors
  • Administrators
  • Paraprofessionals
  • Auxiliary

Contract Start/End & Reporting Dates

Number of Contract Days

Reporting Date
Ghost Days

Reporting Date
Ghost Days

202* / 197 July 24 July 17*
195 July 19 July 12
192 July 26 July 19
187 July 31 July 24

Employees on contracts other than those shown here are are not eligible for Ghost Days (with the exception of JROTC Instructors and some high school coaches).

*Reporting dates and contract end dates for high school testing coordinators (202 days) will be determined by the principal and testing dates.

Flexible Options for Professionals Who Don't Get Ghost Days*

Professional employees on 187-, 191-, 192-, 195- or 196-day contracts, who are not considered classroom teachers as defined on this page, should report to work on the First Work Day of their contract calendar (July 24 or earlier). However, these employees may choose to exchange one or more summer work days for any student/staff holidays during the school year or any non-contract day after July 1 and before their reporting date. (requires supervisor/principal approval) 

Example:  Reporting Date is July 24
Instead of working July 24-27 ( = 5 days in summer hours), this employee will choose to work during Fall Break (Oct.  9-13) to make up those missed contract days.

Example:  Reporting Date is July 19
This employee will attend a 3-day professional learning conference in early July and exchange those days for 3 contract days. 

*Options do not apply to 226-day personnel