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Sunday, August 2, 2009

When Times Are Tuff, What You Protect, Is What You Value Most

This will be my last post on National Board Pay. If you believe the Rock Hill School District's supplemental pay of $3,000 for National Board Certified teachers helped encourage teachers to become certified, or encouraged Board Certified Teachers (or those wanting to be certified) to pick our school district over other districts, then you were not satisfied with the Board's decision to drop the pay for future qualifiers. If you believed the opposite, or you believe that National Board Certification does not mean anything, then you are happy with the decision which will save about $66,000 per year or $700,000 over ten years. (10 teaching positions at the end of ten years will be saved as a result).

The Arguments:

- We are in a budget crunch and must find ways to reduce expenses in two years when the stimulus money runs out. We are currently $8 million dollars short. Now we will have to find an additional $7.8 million to balance the budget in two years.

-We have a lot of good teachers who are not certified and they don't get the pay. True, but they can get certified and get the pay. Why shouldn't we put in a system to pay for results?

-New Teacher surveys do not indicate National Board Pay is a recruiting tool (stated by district employee at meeting). This is the question that was asked: "What peaked your interest in becoming an employee of the Rock Hill Schools? (Check all that apply)." Top response was location (69%), second was availability of jobs (52%), third was reputation of district (50%), and fourth was salary/benefits (39%). There was no question which specifically identified board pay. Feelings about board pay could have been reflected in "reputation of district" - and because we can't move the district, or offer jobs we don't have, board pay could have been the biggest "controllable" reason teachers move into the district. An interesting item, the district had been paying $100,000 (without board action) for signing bonus and relocation allowance - both of these items showed up near the bottom of their survey.

-I know some National Board Teachers who are not very good teachers, or who said they only did it for the money and it didn't make them better teachers. I think this can be said about every position and title in the district. If we have a national board teacher, or any teacher, that is known to be bad, they should be removed - that's what principals are for - don't penalize everyone because of a bad principal. The fact is, all the state finalist for state teacher of the year were nationally certified (that should indicate something).

Board discussion lasted about 40 minutes. That discussion can be viewed below (in 5 parts):

A Cynic is someone who knows the cost of everything, but the value of nothing!

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