EL-G board approves teacher compensation system

Abby Lynn Harvey of The Review staff

ELKHART LAKE – Since Act 10 was enacted in 2011, school districts across the state have been working to develop new employee compensation models.

After hearing from a committee comprised of district staff from all levels and areas at a special meeting April 8, the Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah School Board was allowed a week to consider the proposed “Oostburg Model” compensation system and voted to approve it at their April 15 meeting.

“Our major principle in this was to increase quality instruction,” said District Administrator Ann Buechel Haack, “to increase student achievement and we had to have a model that could attract and retain teachers, be as objective as possible, be performance based with clear criteria, allow for both increases and decreases for compensation – if they’re not meeting expectations the salary can go up, down or stay the same, there’s movements in all levels – be financially sustainable, that was key.”

Pre-Act 10, teacher compensation was administered with a “step and lane” grid, which based salary on years of experience and professional development.

The weaknesses of this system, as presented by the Compensation Committee, include:

• Little reinforcement or accountability for quality instrucby tion.

• Automatic movement through “steps and lanes” was not performance based.

• No allowance for decrease inpay.

• No focus on improving instruction.

• Value given only to education credits/degrees, not other development such as certifications, which may be equally useful in the classroom.

• No link to an evaluation model.

Post-Act 10 a new system, which would also include student achievement, professionalism, collaboration and flexibility for the administration, was called for.

Several models were considered by the committee but were found to be inappropriate for the Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah District for various reasons, such as being to difficult to administer or being too easy to advance through, which would make them financially unsustainable.

The “Oostburg Model” addressed these issues by demonstrating ease of administration while still focusing on student achievement, professionalism and collaboration. Movement forward or backward on the pay scale will be directly connected to performance evaluations and student achievement.

The model also allows for pay decreases or freezes if staff is not performing to the standards of the district. According to the committee this will reinforce accountability.

Yet another advantage of this model for the Elkhart Lake- Glenbeulah School District is that it allows for recognition of certificates and training as opposed to limiting recognition of professional development to only degrees or education credits.

The model will take a minimum for 4 years to fully adopt. And, barring any drastic funding cuts, should be financially sustainable.


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