These potential scales consist of two tracks, one for Suburban Schools and One for High Poverty Schools. High poverty schools, for purposes of this one model of a differentiated pay scale shown above, would consist of the 20% of district schools with the highest percentages of populations eligible for free lunch. Suburban schools would consist of all the rest of the schools in the district. This first scale is revenue neutral, meaning the pay is assigned utilizing only the monies currently available; (The subsequent scale is non-revenue neutral) Each year a teacher stays in a tough to staff, high poverty school, that teacher would receive a corresponding bonus equal to the current bonus plus the amounts for the previous steps at which such a teacher worked at high poverty schools. Conceivably, a teacher who spent their entire career in high poverty schools and reached step 26 on such a scale would be earning $10,000.00 more yearly than their counterparts at suburban
schools. If a teacher transferred from a high poverty school into a suburban school, that teacher would lose the corresponding bonuses from the high poverty scale and revert to the suburban schools scale. Conversely, if a suburban school teacher transferred in to a high poverty school later in his/her career, the bonus amounts earned would start from the bottom of the step scale for high poverty supplements-meaning, for example, that an experienced, veteran teacher who never worked at any high poverty schools their entire career, if such a person at step 20 on the suburban schools track transferred into a high poverty school, that teacher would receive a bonus of $350 for a total compensation of $44,666.48. In a nutshell, someone could not game the system by spending their entire career at a suburban school then moving into a high poverty school near the end of their career with the intention of maxing out their pay. This would not be allowed to happen.
Obviously such a plan would be a radical departure from our current district pay scale, and such a plan would need to be agreed upon by the entire School Board as a body, as well as the Superintendent. Such a plan would then require negotiations with the teacher's union. Additionally, if such a scale were to be implemented it would be for new hires and subsequent employees; Currently employed personnel would be grandfathered and would continue to work under the previously bargained pay scale--unless the legislature mandated otherwise (as the case may be with respect to performance pay scales mandated under SB736.)
Numerous studies have looked into the efficacy of paying bonuses or higher salaries to maintain experienced teachers in high poverty schools. One such study in in North Carolina, where a stipend of $1,800 dollars per year was given for experienced teachers to stay in the inner-city schools, showed success by cutting turnover in half in inner city schools. Other studies point to similar successes, however implementation on a large scale basis has not occurred in public schools in the United States.
Timing could be ripe for such a bold idea to emerge locally, and perhaps the newly mandated requirement for "performance pay" could be molded into or adapted to work within the pay scale illustrated above, essentially solving two issues at once?