Minden Press-Herald

Oct 02nd

Stipend plan in limbo

Due to budget constraints by Webster Parish Schools, the Act 1 Compensation Salary plan that is pending approval from the Louisiana Department of Education, may not be put into place.

"Right now everything is frozen because we don't have the funds to continue our salary schedule – the growth of it," said Steve Dozier, Superintendent of Webster Parish Schools.

Unanimously approved by the board at Monday's meeting, Act 1 Compensation Salary Schedule is a proposed plan by the school board, from the requirements of Louisiana Department of Education, as a result of the Compass evaluations for teachers.

According to LDOE website, Compass was created by Act 54 of the 2010 Regular Legislative Session in order to provide teachers more feedback on their job performance.

The system was developed by a committee of educators, union leaders and policymakers in 2011. The 2012-2013 is the first year that it will be implemented.

Half of a teacher's evaluation will be based on how much a student learned from one year to the next, and half of the evaluation will be based upon observation by principals and administrators.

"The Act 1 goes hand-in-hand with Compass, so you do Compass and you get your rating and you get your Compass schedule," Dozier said.

The devised guidelines, also part of the plan awaiting LDOE approval, are the terms in which a stipend or pay increase can be received. Salary schedule and stipends are aligned for teachers and personnel that are "Highly Effective."

Highly-effective teachers are defined as assessment in instruction, they set instructional outcomes, manage classroom procedures, have questioning and discussion techniques and engage students in learning, according to online sources.

Teachers can be awarded with a stipend based on their compensation in 1.) effectiveness 2.) demand (inclusive of certification, particular school need, geographic area and subject area which may include advanced degrees and 3.) experience.

The plan defines effectiveness as the individual teacher's Compass rating. In addition, teachers who receive an ineffective Compass rating are ineligible for any salary increase the following year.

Achieving a highly-effective rating yearly, an overall of 4.0 on Compass score, would give teachers a stipend of $250 that would be distributed the following October.

Teachers that are rated as "Highly Effective" for three consecutive years will receive a step increase, according to the guidelines. However, teachers may not be eligible to receive the full amount if they did not teach full time for the school year (August-May).

"Even without the stipend we are competitive,"Dozier said (referring to the salary schedule). "The base pay will not change, but the sales tax can be flexible."

There are five levels to the salary schedule.

As proposed, Level one is defined as a teacher who has earned a Bachelor's degree and is either certified by LDOE or has passed the Praxis and entered a PL program.

Praxis Series tests are taken by individuals entering the teaching profession as part of the certification process required by many states and professional licensing organizations.

Level two is a teacher who has earned a Master's degree and also meets all the requirements of Level one.

Level three is a teacher who has earned a Master's degree plus 30 additional graduate hours and meets all the requirements of Level one.

Level four is a teacher who has earned a Specialist's degree and meets the requirements of level one.

Level five is a teacher who has earned a Doctorate degree and meets all of the requirements of Level one.

As of now, Dozier said, salaries and stipends for Webster Parish educators are frozen.






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