Give them the money
Hillsborough teachers have voted resoundingly to accept the state's new performance pay plan. The Merit Award Program won the approval of 75 percent of the nearly 2,500 teachers who voted. Hillsborough estimates that one-third to half of its almost 15,000 teachers could qualify for the additional pay this year.
But don't confuse the strong show of support with an approval rating, warns Hillsborough teachers union president Jean Clements. "Most teachers are not completely satisfied - neither am I - but thought it was the only way to get that money into the district and into the pockets of teachers," she said. "It was worth a shot."
She said Hillsborough is receiving $10.8 million in state funding for the program, although it remains to be seen how far the money in rewards for the county's teachers. The MAP program replaced the much maligned STAR program, short for Special Teachers Are Rewarded. Standardized test scores play a large role in determining performance pay in both plans. Hillsborough was one of the first districts to send a STAR plan to the state. The district also has an internal performance pay plan.
- Letitia Stein, Hillsborough County education reporter