EDUCATION REFORM: Teacher Pay Bump, Bonuses

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State education leaders are outlining their plan to attract and keep high quality teachers in the classroom.  The Governor's $187 million plan for Education Reform includes a salary bump and incentives for thousands of Iowa teachers.

“High caliber individuals in our society have a number of different career options and so we want to make sure that teaching as a compensation element is among those considered options,” says Iowa Education Director Jason Glass.

The proposal raises the minimum salary to $35,000.  The increase would affect about 2,000 teachers.  They would also have the opportunity to earn an extra $2,000 to $10,000 a year by becoming Model, Mentor or Lead teachers. 

“If teachers were selected into these roles they would be provided that one year stipend, have the additional responsibilities and then it would be up to the teacher to demonstrate competence in order to maintain that position going forward,” says Glass.

The new Leadership and Compensation proposal would cost the state $150 million to implement.  The plan would be phased in over four years and each district would receive $314 a student to cover those requirements.  Most districts would have state funding left, but a handful of districts would end up in the hole.  Officials say they would likely have to team up with nearby schools to make the plan work.

“It`s an interesting proposal,” says Ames Senator Herman Quirmbach. 

But he and other Iowa Democrats say education reform needs to take a back seat.

“We need to pass Allowable Growth now.  We have to keep the lights on and the gas in the bus and ordering pencils and all of that stuff that schools have to do,” says Quirmbach.

On Wednesday, the Iowa Senate is expected to vote on a 4% allowable growth for schools.