Not what they expected
Salary talks are on hold. No one knows how state budget cuts will shake out. Yet the Oct. 1 deadline for school districts to submit performance pay plans to the Department of Education remains. Several school boards and education organizations have urged lawmakers to postpone implementation of the Merit Award Program, but the feedback has not been encouraging yet.
With this as a backdrop, teachers have been negotiating details of the plan. Some have said they simply don't want to participate. That's allowed. But, it seems, it's the only real point of flexibility in the plan that was touted as the more open-minded version of the reviled Special Teachers Are Rewarded system it replaced in the spring.
"What we're finding is MAP doesn't have as much flexibility as originally thought," Lynne Webb, United School Employees of Pasco president, told the Pasco School Board.
She noted that the program would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to implement, beyond the actual bonuses, and said that uncertainty remains whether teachers would approve the plan anyway.
Count on this to become a hot issue during the special session, which begins Sept. 18.