Pitt County School leaders help develop NC teacher pay plan - WSPA.com

Pitt County School leaders help develop NC teacher pay plan

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - Teachers, parents and state lawmakers are now working together to figure out a fair way to reward the best teachers with more money, and Pitt County School leaders are playing a key role in the process.
"For some teachers, no matter the amount of money you give them, they're going to be there for those kids,” says Delilah Jackson, PCS assistant superintendent of human resources. “And that's what I want to focus on, but also too I want them to be appreciated. And of course, sometimes that appreciation comes with rewards, which in turn is money."

Lawmakers are now asking for input on creating a fair state-wide incentive compensation program. On Tuesday, PCS leaders presented them with pros and cons of their federally-funded bonus pilot program.

It launched three years ago and initially provided $3,000 bonuses, technology incentives, and extra training to 29 high-performing teachers in low-performing schools. But district leaders began to question the program when “mistrust” grew between teachers and some started leaving. 

"It puts some people in a position where, ‘I don't want to do that because I don't want my colleagues to think that I think that I’m better than them,’” Jackson explains. “Because we're promoting collaboration so that's where that mistrust sometimes comes along."

It’s a problem Jackson admits could get worse when a new state law goes into effect this June. It forces all districts to choose just 25 percent of their top teachers to get pay raises.

"It really does cause a concern when we have people that have been sharing and talking and collaborating all this time knowing that there may be a process that's law and we have to do it, that may cause people not to collaborate anymore,” Jackson says. “And that's disheartening."

In the meantime, Jackson says the district wants to restructure its incentives program to offer sign-on bonuses for hard-to-fill positions in science, math and exceptional children classes. She says funding and sustainability are the two biggest challenges districts face in agreeing on a state-wide incentives model.

As for the 25 percent selections, Jackson is now helping Superintendent Ethan Lenker  filter through teacher evaluations, but they have not yet developed specific criteria to help determine the top teachers.

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