How can teachers make up to $25,000 more in failing schools?
As the Times has reported, the Pinellas County school system is going to pay teachers up to $25,000 more a year to attract them to failing schools in St. Petersburg.
This is a major change for the school system and the teachers union, both of which have been reluctant in past years to pay teachers much more to work in tough schools. It follows a lot of other large, urban districts here in Florida and nationwide. Duval County, for example, has raised money to pay teachers in struggling schools up to $20,000 more. Districts have done these initiatives in many different ways - giving teachers a lump sum bonus, asking them to work more hours, paying bonuses in two or three parts, and providing an increasing bonus for a specified number of years of service at a particular school.
Pasco County, as the Times reported recently, has decided its incentive pay didn't really work.
In Pinellas County, many teachers wouldn't be eligible to make the full $25,000 more per year. The range, as recently released by the school district, would be from $18,000 more to $25,000 more and would require that teachers attend 30 hours of additional training, work a longer school day and teach in Summer Bridge. They also would have 36 hours of ELP. If teachers do all of that, their annual pay would then increase within that range. A teacher with 16 years of experience who did all of that would make $19,763 more per year.
The figures also include a $5,000 recruitment bonus and a $2,000 school performance bonus. The school performance bonus is, as you might guess, based on whether the schools improve.
Mike Gandolfo, president of the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Union, has said that many teachers won't make the full amount of money being offered by the district. And, if teachers do sign on for the extra hours and summer bridge, they could face burn out.