Teachers back on board with incentive pay
Union vote was
After a year without it, School District 191 teachers appear to be back on board with an optional pay plan that gave most rank-and-file teachers $2,000 extra per year in performance incentives.
Teachers were expected to vote Wednesday and Thursday on the plan, after Sun Thisweek had gone to press. The plan, called Pro-Pay, requires both union and School Board approval.
The Burnsville-Eagan-Savage district launched Pro-Pay in 2006, after state lawmakers approved an alternative teacher pay law called Q Comp.
But last September, the Burnsville Education Association’s executive board voted overwhelmingly against sending a rewritten Pro-Pay plan to a union vote for authorization in 2011-12. Both sides must annually authorize Pro Pay.
By dumping the plan, teachers lost about $2.5 million in state aid and local levy funds to pay the incentives as well as bonuses for teaching coaches and other leadership positions.
There had been a “climate of mistrust” on the committee of teachers and administrators working on the rewrite teacher leaders rejected, according to Burnsville Education Association President Libby Duethmann.
But a new round of talks has been “phenomenal,” she told the School Board May 17.
The new plan, which already has the state Department of Education’s approval, contains fixes teachers wanted, she said.
It gives first dibs on instructional coaching positions – which carry stipends of up to $4,000 – to teachers already in the district, Duethmann said.
It addresses teacher concerns about building leadership teams, whose members earn a $2,000 stipend. The BEA wanted to ensure that experienced, nonprobationary teachers are chosen for the teams, Duethmann said.
The new plan also includes incentives for Early Childhood Family Education and Adult Basic Education teachers, who were eligible for little of the extra pay under the rejected plan, she said.
“I feel really great about where we are versus where we were in the fall,” Duethmann said.
If teachers approve the plan, School Board approval is expected June 7.
The plan gives teachers an extra $1,200 for “proficient” or “exemplary” ratings on three coaching observations. Teachers must also achieve those ratings on their observations and professional learning plans to advance on the salary schedule.
Another $200 is available to teachers whose schools meet a schoolwide student achievement goal.
Teachers will get another $200 when their “collaborative” teaching teams meet their student achievement goals.
And $400 is available for proficient or exemplary progress on teachers’ personalized learning plans, which are linked to the coaching observations.
Duethmann said that link more closely binds professional development and the observation process – something the Department of Education found wanting under the old Pro-Pay plan.
“We might be trendsetters,” Duethmann told the board.
Each teacher’s thrice-yearly observations will be done by two different observers, said David Bernard, the district’s director of instruction.
With union and board approval, the new plan would take effect July 1.