In the next 50 or so days, the Escambia County School District will be finalizing evaluations on instructional personnel throughout the system. These evaluations will be done according to and utilizing the performance based metrics associated with the district/union negotiated Merit Award Plan (MAP).
I was and always have been a huge proponent of Merit Pay for teachers. Statewide and nationally, more and more are embracing the concept. (I plan on adding some additional blog entries on this subject in the next few days) I campaigned on this issue two years ago, because I fundamentally believe that it is important and productive to reward outstanding effort and achievement. I pushed hard when, prior to MAP, the plan was called STAR (Special Teachers Are Rewarded), and I was disappointed when the special state funded $2.1 million that the district had in it’s coffers for paying teacher bonuses last year was sent back to Tallahassee. I think that was a mistake, but it is history and I’m not going to dwell on it. I’m instead going to focus on the positive—the fact that Escambia County was one of only 9 districts out of Florida’s 67 that was able to develop, negotiate, and deliver a Merit Pay Plan for its professional educators for the 2007-2008 school year. This is something that we ought to be proud of, in my opinion.
In a short number of weeks, the teachers in Escambia County who met the criteria outlined in our performance pay plan (about 1,000 teachers) will each be receiving checks that will range between $1,500.00 and $3,000.00. I would venture a guess that of those teachers that receive these awards, even the ones initially opposed to Merit Pay will be grateful for the award. These teachers earned this money through their hard work and dedication, and it is very satisfying as a Board Member to watch this money flow from the State into the hands of outstanding Escambia County teachers.
I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.