Teaching Profession

Austin Hands Out $1 Million in Merit Pay

By Vaishali Honawar — December 17, 2008 1 min read
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There’s at least one district where some teachers are getting more money instead of having to worry about losing their jobs or pay.

Austin this week handed out $1 million in cash bonuses to teachers under its pilot performance-pay program for teachers whose students did better on state tests. Teachers at six schools will get $4,000 extra each in their paychecks.

But, as this story points out, of the six schools where staff will get bonuses, all but two had shown similar improvement in previous years. Which, of course, begs the question: did they really even need a performance-pay plan in the first place?

David Lussier, director of Austin’s performance-pay program, thinks so. He is quoted in the story as saying that it’s worthwhile to reward staff at schools that show improvement, even if they have improved in the past without the promise of performance bonuses.

“We’re incentivizing that growth,” he said.

Utah, meanwhile, has decided to delay $20 million in performance-pay funds for teachers. Read more on this here.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.