The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) today announced it will partner with two school corporations -- Milan Community Schools and Randolph Central Schools --t o explore ways to improve teacher pay structures.
The process for designing new pay structures in these corporations will rely on feedback from teachers. The information and experience gathered through the pilot will provide guidance for other school corporations as they update compensation models in light of new legal guidelines.
"Indiana's educators work hard on behalf of their students, and the new laws allow school leaders to use salary increases to recognize them for their efforts and accomplishments," Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett said. "Under new laws, Indiana schools have more power than ever before to reward their best educators, which empowers school leaders to attract, retain and develop highly-effective educators for every classroom."
In 2011, the Indiana General Assembly passed legislation that requires schools to consider factors other than just seniority and degrees earned in salary determinations. These factors include educators' performance on annual evaluations, leadership responsibilities and the academic needs of students--in addition to years of experience and college coursework. Beginning in the 2012-2013 school year, only teachers who receive a rating of "highly effective" or "effective" may receive pay increases.
While the state developed a model structure, local school corporations have full flexibility to design pay structures tailored to their individual needs and communities--so long as they meet the broad guidelines outlined in the law.
IDOE invited schools to apply for the pilot in early January 2012. Milan and Randolph schools were selected based on the potential for scaling their efforts statewide and their commitment to working with the department. Further, the challenges facing these corporations are similar to the challenges school districts around the state are likely to face as they adjust to the new guidelines.
Both school corporations will begin work immediately, and the project will run until July 2012. Their work will provide the following guidance for other school corporations:
* A comprehensive analysis of the current teacher pay structure, including salary schedules, benefits and incentives;
* An outline of the design priorities for new teacher pay structures to help local districts tailor new scales that meet legal guidelines;
* Options for new teacher pay structures, with an analysis of the benefits and potential challenges for each;
* Financial models that take into account the potential for decreased, flat and increased revenue scenarios, which will ensure the sustainability of any new model; and
* A plan for transitioning from the corporation's current model to the new one.
"I support the idea of doing more to reward excellent instruction in the classroom," Randolph Central Superintendent Dr. Greg Hinshaw said. "In addition, I recognize the need to give greater consideration to market factors in decisions about the compensation of staff."
"A major concern of ours is the need to provide equity for our younger teachers who never benefited from our old salary schedule model," Milan Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Thomas Reale said. "We hope to find a way within the new law to channel more of the available money for salary increases to them so they can aspire to be compensated in a way their more senior colleagues already are."
In an effort to gather diverse perspectives on this issue, IDOE will prioritize outreach to school leaders, teachers and community members throughout this process. Findings from this pilot will be used to create guidance materials to assist other school corporations in navigating the new requirements under state law.
For more information, visit www.doe.in.gov.