Parish teachers could see bonuses for effectiveness

Published 12:13 am Saturday, February 23, 2013

VIDALIA — Concordia Parish teachers and principals could be taking home up to an additional $600 a year based on their effectiveness in the classroom.

The Concordia Parish School Board voted Thursday to adopt a customized salary schedule required by state law that gives teachers and principals the ability to receive additional stipends based on annual performance evaluations.

The salary schedule was created based on a set of regulations put into place under Act 1 of the Louisiana legislature that required all parishes to determine a new pay scale for teachers based on experience, academic degrees and effectiveness ratings.

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“There was a great number of things that affected education in the legislature and one of those stated that we create a new salary schedule that was created over the idea of rewarding the effectiveness of our teachers,” Superintendent Paul Nelson said. “We went through several different group meetings with principals, supervisors, teachers, and we feel like we have a salary schedule that is fair to all and also meets the requirements of the state.”

State regulation will require teachers and principals to undergo annual evaluations in which they will receive one of four ratings: “highly effective,” “effective proficient,” “effective emerging” or “ineffective.”

A teacher who receives a “highly effective” rating would receive a one-time stipend of $600 for that year. An “effective proficient” rating would earn a teacher a $500 stipend and an “effective emerging” rating would warrant $300.

Additional stipends are also available for teachers and principals who receive an “effective proficient” rating or higher rating for three consecutive years.

The state regulation, Nelson said, also states that no teacher salaries may be reduced as a result of the new schedules.

The new salary requirements were adopted as part of the Act 1 of the legislature this past session that was part of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s education reforms package.

Nelson expressed concerns about how the new schedules were to be implemented, especially regarding funding.

“I think the idea behind trying to reward effectiveness is a good one, but I have some issues with where school districts are expected to get the money from,” Nelson said. “There’s no additional funding coming from the state, and in fact they’re actually cutting money.

“What we tried to do was take the money we normally have used for other step increases we previously had and redistribute those in this fashion to not have to make a significant change in the budget.”

In other news from the meeting:

•The board adopted a calendar for the 2013-2014 school year.

The approved calendar will have students starting school on Aug. 9 and the school year ending May 23.

The amount of holidays, staff-only days and instructional minutes per day did not change from the current year’s calendar to next year’s calendar.