Education

Fact finding document rejected

Witt pitches pay model

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Performance means everything.

At least, in terms of teacher compensation for the Jefferson County Board of Education.

During the Aug. 28 board of education meeting, the board voted (3-2) to reject the fact-finding recommendations regarding negotiations with the district’s teachers association, the Jefferson County Educators Association (JCEA), proposing new compensation scale.

“Focus on the goal,” said Board President Ken Witt during the meeting. “The goal is to have an effective teacher in every classroom, to align the evaluation system and align compensation. Teachers should be rewarded for being effective and not ineffective.”

Following a month of hearings with both sides, the fact finder found the district’s evaluation system was flawed, and recommended (www.jeffcopublicschools.org/human_resources/negotiations/Jeffco_fact_finding_report.pdf) teachers rated as “partially effective” should receive an increase in the 2014-2015 school year, but not receive the increases available to effective or highly effective teachers in the following school year, as long as an improvements are made to the current evaluation in place.

“Given the lack of reliability of the current evaluation system, however, it cannot be said that teachers who are rated as ‘partially effective’ are, in fact, not effective,” the report read. “A more rigorous and valid evaluation process is required before it can be concluded that granting a step increase to teachers rated as partially effective equates with placing ineffective teachers in classrooms or rewarding ineffective teachers.”

This was not accepted by the board majority, who remained firm on having compensation for only effective and highly effective-rated teachers. While consensus was felt among the board to adhere to its goal of having an effective teacher in every classroom, the majority felt the fact finder’s recommendations did not adequately reward those for performance.

Following the vote, Witt proposed a new compensation model which supports the board’s goal and rewards effectively-rated teachers for performance.

Witt’s model (www.boarddocs.com) would raise the base pay for full time teachers to $38,000 to be more competitive with other districts; give bonuses in lieu of salary increases to “effective teachers” with higher base salaries; and provide a 50 percent higher compensation increase for highly effective teachers than those of effectively-rated teachers.

“It’s very important as a district and an organization that performance means something,” Witt said. “It is fair we move forward with a comp system that rewards all of our teachers and puts performance as a key component of that system, that’s critically important to me.”

With the rejection of the fact-finding agreement, the board now has full power to resolve the issues at hand, according to the current contract with the association.

According to Lorie Gillis, the district’s chief financial officer, the proposed compensation changes, is not something they could do as a “turn of a key” and would take months to figure out.

“This is not something we could do for even an October paycheck ... pay needs to be accurate,” she said.

Moving forward, the district’s financial and human resources departments will work on calculating the numbers for the proposed pay scale and will present them at a later meeting.