HARVEY — Jefferson Parish School Board members will vote Tuesday on whether or not to approve an incentive pay system for Jefferson Parish teachers and administrators.
On Monday, the same day Gov. Bobby Jindal’s Act 1 was ruled unconstitutional by State District Judge R. Michael Caldwell, the board met in an executive committee meeting for a presentation of the proposed new salary schedule specifically designed to meet the requirements of Act 1.
Implementing a system to reward teachers for high performance has been an initiative school Superintendent James Meza has been working toward as part of the extensive reform he brought to the district during his tenure.
Under the proposed salary schedule, educators would receive annual step increases based on a combination of experience and effectiveness.
The effectiveness rating is based on the Compass teacher evaluation system, for which Jefferson Parish participated in the pilot program prior to its state-mandated implementation for the 2012-2013 school year.
Each year that teachers score among the top two levels of effectiveness (“Effective: Proficient” or “Highly Effective”), they would receive an annual $600 step increase.
Principals and assistant principals would receive a $500 increase.
An educator who received an “Effective: Emerging” score would receive an increase but would only be eligible to receive a maximum of three step increases at that rating over the course of her career.
A salary step is an incremental increase in salary based on previous qualifying professional experience — the longer in the system, the more money that can be earned.
“Ineffective” educators would not receive a step increase. However, no teacher’s salary would decrease under the proposed incentive pay system, and benefits would not be affected.
The new proposal also would offer an additional yearly stipend based on effectiveness rating. Educators with a “Highly Effective” rating would receive a $600 stipend, and educators with an “Effective: Proficient” score would receive a $200 stipend.
Educators also would receive salary increases when they completed advanced degrees. Also included in the proposal is the ability for the district to provide stipends to attract or retain exceptional teachers or administrators, particularly in subjects or schools that are more difficult to staff.
“In developing our recommendation for the board, we spoke with other districts that have developed salary schedules with similar goals in mind — to develop a fair system that rewards both exceptional performance and experience of teachers,” Meza said in a news release.
“To ensure we put together a proposal that makes the most sense for Jefferson Parish, we also conducted teacher focus groups to solicit feedback and conducted extensive analysis to determine that the new schedules are feasible in this fiscal environment.”
If approved at the board’s meeting, the new rules would go into effect for the 2013-2014 school year, and the first steps and stipends would be awarded during the 2014-2015 school year.
The district also announced on Monday a new “talent management strategy” for the 2013-2014 school year aimed at strengthening its ranks of teachers.
To fill next year’s vacancies with high-quality teachers, the district’s strategy will address recruitment, selection, talent development and retention.
The school system is preparing for an anticipated 250 or more vacancies, in part due to approximately one-third of the teacher workforce being eligible for retirement.
“Our teachers are one of the most important factors in ensuring that children receive an education that will prepare them for success,” Meza said in a news release. “By ensuring we have the very best teachers in the classroom, we can give our children the very best education.”
The district is working to build partnerships with top universities and professional organizations to recruit top teaching talent.
Instead of offering candidates offers late in the summer, a new proposed timeline will allow the district to make offers as early as April or May.
For new teachers, the strategy will offer an orientation program that would begin as soon as candidates accept an offer.
A mentoring program and continuing professional development opportunities also will be provided throughout the school year.
Under the strategy, training would come from the central office, the network and the school level.
“All phases of the talent management strategy, from recruiting to providing ongoing support training, is critical to ensuring that we have an effective teacher in every single JPSS classroom,” Meza said in the news release.
The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday at 501 Manhattan Blvd. in Harvey.