Teaching Profession

Utah May Hold Back Merit-Pay Funds

By Vaishali Honawar — December 11, 2008 1 min read

A while back, Teacher Beat predicted that states were likely to pull the brakes on merit-pay plans, given the economic freefall. And we hate to say it, but we were right.

Out of Utah comes news that the state board of education is considering delaying $20 million in promised performance-pay funds for teachers, because of looming budget cuts.

Teachers in participating districts and charter schools would have received an average of $500 each under the merit-pay program.

Teachers, of course, are not so happy about the news, since it comes after they’ve spent a year working for the bonuses.

Utah Education Association spokesman Mike Kelley told the Deseret News that teachers have been participating “in what they thought would be a compensation plan and working toward what they thought would be a bonus.”

“There are teachers who have been counting on it,” he added.

While one can understand the teachers’ disappointment, some would argue it is better to hold back on bonuses than lay off teachers and cut essential school programs. Besides, who knows, this could be great ammunition for teachers’ unions, which have always questioned the sustainability of performance-pay programs.

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