Local schools deal with compensation requirements

Schools throughout the state are still searching for ways to abide by merit pay legislation.
Krystle Wagner
Oct 26, 2012


Two years after the Public Act of 2009 went into effect, 81 of 104 teacher union contracts reviewed by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy show educators' salaries are not tied to their performance.

The legislation calls for schools to consider job performance rather than education and experience for compensation.

Teachers at local schools are paid on a salary schedule, which contains steps for years of experience and the education level they've obtained.

Fruitport Community Schools Superintendent Bob Szymoniak said the district has spent time talking and looking at how to implement merit pay, but they haven’t found a way.

“Initially, their intent was merit pay should be awarded for teacher evaluation,” Szymoniak said. “Though well-intended, we don’t have an evaluation tool that can sort and select our staff to that degree to award merit pay in a way that we felt was meaningful at this point.”

While Grand Haven teachers are paid based on experience and education, the district rewarded its teachers receiving “effective” or “highly effective” evaluations with an additional personal day last year. Scott Grimes, the Grand Haven district's assistant superintendent of human services, said they felt an extra day off was something everyone could use, but it had to be taken on a day when school wasn’t in session, such as a professional development day.

Although it may have been an incentive, Grimes doesn’t think it played a factor in how staff taught students.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.




Tri-cities realist

Giving an extra vacation day, to forego further teacher development seems a bit shallow. If the school districts are struggling to find a meaningful way to evaluate and pay teachers based on achievement, perhaps they should consult some local businesses. I suspect it is the fear of lawsuits from the teachers unions that are preventing true merit pay for teachers.


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