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Few Iowa Districts Tied Higher Pay to Performance

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Virtually all of Iowa's 436 school districts have submitted plans for spending $42 million appropriated by the legislature for hikes in teacher pay, but few will tie the raises immediately to better performance, education officials report.

All of the 427 plans submitted to and approved by the state education department last month call for differential pay for teachers. Only 56 plans, though, propose for the first year of the program to award raises based partially or entirely on classroom performance.

From Added Allocation

Under the Educational Excellence Program approved by the legislature last year, $50 million was distributed to schools on a per-pupil and per-teacher basis. To qualify for a share of the additional $42 million, districts had to develop plans that based the raises on performance, additional work loads, or additional academic coursework.

The plans were developed by district officials, teachers, and citizens who served on local planning committees.

Nearly 87 percent of the approved plans call for higher pay for additional work or advanced training only. But in future years, state officials say, classroom performance may play a greater role in determining teacher pay raises. About 84 percent of the districts that submitted plans said they intended to implement or were studying performance-based pay plans.

Lynn M. Cornett, associate director of school-college programs for8the Southern Regional Education Board, said that the plans approved in Iowa are consistent with trends elsewhere.

Plans Said Typical

In other states, she noted, teacher pay plans that are developed locally through negotiations with teachers typically give greater rewards for "additional work load and training than classroom performance."

Representative Arthur Ollie, chairman of the House education committee, said he "didn't expect to see many performance plans in this round."

"The school districts that are seriously considering performance-based pay are taking some time to develop them so they won't be divisive," he said.--ef

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