Five schools miss pay plan deadline

State education officials are still waiting on three virtual public charter schools and two school districts to submit plans for sharing a statewide $21 million pool for teacher pay and training.

The state set an Oct. 1 deadline for the differentiated pay plans, But as of Thursday afternoon, Prairie Elementary District, Three Creek Joint Elementary District, Inspire Virtual Charter School, iSucceed Virtual High School and Kootenai Bridge Academy’s had yet to turn in plans, State Department of Education spokeswoman Melissa McGrath said.

It was not immediately clear whether these schools would face any consequences.

“Department staff did work to contact each school district and charter school that had not submitted,” McGrath wrote in an email to Idaho Education News.

The vast majority of the state’s 115 school districts and 48 charter schools met the deadline. They submitted a vast array of plans, ranging from simple, one-page documents to more complex proposals that span 40 typed pages.

Eastern Idaho’s Bonneville Joint School District started with an old pay-for-performance model, developed before the Students Come First laws were repealed in 2012, then solicited as may ideas as possible.

“Teachers and administrators from all levels got together to work on the plan, then we sent it out to committees who worked with teachers,” Deputy Superintendent Marjean McConnell said. “We had pretty broad input.”

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Earlier this year, the Legislature set aside the $21 million in the K-12 budget and asked districts to craft their own pay plans. The one basic requirement said that no more than 40 percent of the money could be spent on professional development training to implement the new Idaho Core Standards.

The state serves as a clearinghouse for the plans, but the state did not review or approve them – that task fell to local school boards.

Heather Williams
Heather Williams

Gooding Superintendent Heather Williams said her district purposely created a simplified easy-to-understand plan. But district officials didn’t base their plan off their old pay-for-performance model because the Idaho Standards Achievement Test was central to that plan. Except in rare cases to meet graduation requirements, Idaho will no longer administer the ISAT, as it moves to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium test, aligned with the new core standards.

“A committee of teachers and administrators from each building worked over the summer and finalized it this fall,” Williams said. “They wanted to be able to come together around a building goal, and either make the goal or not.”

Here’s closer look at plans submitted by five districts and one charter school:

  • Boise: District leaders divided the money between districtwide student achievement awards and individual professional growth goals. The academic achievement goals focus on increasing student participation in Advanced Placement courses, while certified staff members will be required to log 15 hours of professional development related to individual goals. Certified staff members and administrators meeting the requirements will be able to earn one share of the funding, while classified staff members will be able to earn a half share. The payments will be made in June.
  • Bonneville: The district broke its plan into six categories, covering elementary, middle, alternative schools, high schools and the like. Generally, classified staffers will be able to earn an excellence in achievement award based on attendance and unused sick days. Then 90 percent of the remaining money will go to bonuses based on growth in the SAT or ACT, STAR Reading or Math assessments or the Idaho Reading Indicator. The remaining money will be set aside for Idaho Core Standards professional development training.
  • Blaine County: District officials plan to reward all certified and classified staff equally on a building-wide basis based on growth in the Idaho Reading Indicator, STAR Reading and STAR Math and secondary unit assessments. At the elementary and middle schools, awards will be given if 60 percent of students show growth on their respective assessment. At the high school, differentiated pay awards will be given if growth between pre- and post-unit assessments averages 15 percent in a school.
  • Gooding: The district budgeted an anticipated $35,000 for targeted professional development related to individual schools’ Idaho Core Standards goals. Each full-time employee will be eligible for $500. The remaining money will dedicated to a differentiated pay plan, divided into shares based on each school’s state five-star rating for 2013.
  • Ririe: Employees seeking a share of differentiated pay must log hours they spend using one of seven strategies to implement Idaho Core Standards. Teachers also must submit pre- and post-tests showing measureable student improvement tied to the standards. Building principals will sign off on the logs and district officials will tabulate them and distribute the funding. Fifty percent of the hours logged must be above and beyond normal work expectations, with up to 40 hours allowed at an estimated $17 per hour.
  • Forrest Bird Charter School: Forty percent of the money will go professional development, leadership and resources devoted to implementing Idaho Core Standards. Forty percent of the school’s money will be available to certified staff, while the other 20 percent will go to classified employees. District goals include a 5 percent increase in students completing dual credit courses, 3 percent growth in MAP scores for sixth through eighth graders and growth in end-of-unit assessments.

All of the plans are available to review on the State Department of Education’s website.

School district leaders anticipate receiving their share of the funding in February.