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Bonneville Co. Presents Merit Pay Plan

The upcoming school year brings with it some new challenges in the wake of Superintendent Tom Luna’s Students Come First plan, like a modified pay scale for teachers.

As districts implement pay for performance, they face a big question: use the state’s criteria for the local reward or create their own?

It seems a majority are using the state standards, but that’s not the case in Bonneville County Joint School District 93.

It was standing room only as 540 teachers filled the auditorium at Hillcrest High on Tuesday morning. It’s back to school for a new year and a new pay scale.

“I can see it being a good thing, but I have so many questions,” said teacher Andy Weller.

The fifth-grade teacher was certainly not alone as arms popped up during an explanation of pay for performance.

“It’s really going to be bringing teachers together, not pushing them apart,” said Superintendent Dr. Charles Shackett.

Half of the bonus is based on the state share, which is a reward for the entire school based on standardized test scores. The other half is a local share, determined by goals set by a committee of District 93 faculty.

“By having a local plan, we have the opportunity to increase the amount of funding that comes to the district,” said teacher and committee member Rodd Rapp.

A quarter of this local share is based on attendance. The other 75 percent differs by grade.

In kindergarten through third, it is determined by a combination of growth and proficiency.

Grades four through six are strictly based on proficiency.

Seventh and eighth grades are based on end-of-course assessments.

And grades nine through 12 rely on student achievement, graduation rates, and student credits per semester.

“We have to focus on the positives we have,” said Shackett during his presentation to faculty.

Early estimates show a full share coming in at $2,000 per teacher, meaning the possibility of earning an additional $4,000 each year.

Plugging last year’s data into the model revealed good signs for District 93.

“It came out that 78 percent of teachers would have received the full local share.

Administrators in Blackfoot School District 55 are also working on their own version of the local share criteria.

Pocatello-Chubbuck will use the state’s standards this year while stakeholders develop a plan for next year.

School districts had just 10 days to develop their own pay for performance models, which also have to be approved by the state by Sept. 1.

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