Teacher bonus announcements delayed

Hundreds of Idaho teachers will have to wait another month to find out if they earned $4,000 bonuses.

The State Board of Education is again experiencing delays with the Master Educator Premium program, spokesman Mike Keckler said.

“We’re running late,” Keckler said. “Now we’re thinking it will be mid-to-late September before we notify applicants.”

Created by the Legislature, the Master Educator Premium program provides $4,000 per year to teachers who meet the criteria. The premiums renew for three years, bringing their total value for a teacher to $12,000.

This is the last year that teachers were allowed to apply for the premiums. The Legislature passed a law earlier this year that discontinues the premium program — although successful applicants will still earn the money.

This year, 645 educators applied for the premiums, Keckler said.

He identified two issues that contributed to the delay in evaluating application portfolios and notifying teachers.

Some teachers who applied for the premiums also applied to evaluate the applicants. Keckler said the State Board wants Idaho teachers to apply to evaluate the portfolios. But officials don’t want applicants to also serve as evaluators.

“We want people to be applicants or evaluators, not both,” Keckler said.

The State Board had 167 people apply to be evaluators.

The other issue is a paperwork issue. Some of the teachers who applied for the premiums entered their school district employee identification number on the application instead of an EDUID number.

State Board staff are checking the applications to make sure the paperwork was filled out properly.

“That’s what we’re doing, reaching out, straightening those sorts of things out to make sure people aren’t disqualified for a mistake like that,” Keckler said.

Last year, during the first year of the Master Educator Premium program, the process was marked by delays and technical glitches.

Another technical glitch earlier this year delayed opening of the application system for a few days.

 

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