Every year, the School Board is required by law to have a differentiated pay plan. According to the Tennessee Department of Education, each differentiated pay plan submitted to the department shall include compensation for educators based on, at minimum, one of the following criteria:
• High-needs subject areas and schools, sometimes referred to as hard-to-staff subjects or schools
• Instructional roles and/ or responsibilities
Since differentiated pay criteria can include hard-to-staff schools and performance based on State Board approved teacher evaluation criteria, Director of Schools Bobby Cox mentioned providing a new plan for two local schools.
“We’ve talked about possibly putting in an opportunity for teachers who might want to go to Bobby Ray or Eastside, which are low socioeconomic and tend to have higher turnover, to get a $1,000 stipend if they are a level 4 or 5 teacher with the caveat that they must stay at the school for a three-year period and maintain their 4 or 5 status by TVASS scores during that time to get the stipend,” explained Cox.
Board member Bill Zechman shared his stance, “I’m fine with what we have here, but I hope we can view it as a work in progress and I’d like to see more money devoted to this pay plan. With the $1,000 bonus, my only question is will that be sufficient to motivate teachers to make that move?”
According to Cox, this isn’t the first time they’ve implemented a differentiated pay plan to aid in staffing hard-to-staff subject areas and schools and attracting and retaining highly qualified teachers.
Answered Cox, “We did the same thing a few years ago for math teachers. We paid $1,000 each year over three years if they would stay with us over that three-year period. I don’t know how many would take advantage of that.”
The School Board continued to discuss the issue of teacher transfers and agreed the pay plan is one way of addressing it without developing a hard policy against teacher transfers in our district.
“I don’t know how much it will come into play but at least it is an option,” said Cox. “That’s why I’ve not been a proponent for pay-for-performance because when you do that, you kind of create division. I would be more a proponent for a school performing at a certain level.”
The School Board voted in approval for the differentiated pay plan. The deadline for the 2019-20 Differentiated Pay Plan submission to the state is Monday, July 1.