School personnel on tap for bonuses

By Wendy Byerly Wood - [email protected]

Three groups of teachers in Elkin City Schools will see bonuses this month, thanks to action and funding from the state. This is in addition to non-certified personnel who already are on tap for merit pay bonuses in January.

Faculty who teach Advanced Placement (AP) and Career Technical Education (CTE) courses, as well as top third-grade reading teachers, could benefit from the new state bonuses, explained Jan Zachary, chief finance officer for the local school system, Monday during the monthly Elkin City Schools Board of Education meeting. Based on faculty who meet the eligibility requirements for the bonuses, Elkin will be paying out $23,365 in state money to its teachers this month.

These bonuses are part of three separate pilot programs, Zachary said, and are based on the performance of the teachers’ students during the 2015-16 school year.

For teachers of Advanced Placement courses, they will receive a $50 bonus per AP exam that is taken by their students with a grade of 3 or above, with a maximum bonus given of $2,000. Statewide, $4.3 million was dedicated to this pilot program, Zachary said. Six Elkin teachers qualify for the bonus, with each getting between $300 and $700 in bonus pay based on the 67 students in the system who scored 3 or above on their AP exam.

The CTE bonus program is based on the number of students who earn an approved industry certification or credential, which were determined by the N.C. Department of Commerce and the State Board of Education, explained the CFO. The maximum amount to be earned per teacher for this program is also $2,000, with $25 to $50 awarded per student depending on the certification/credential earned.

Statewide, Zachary said, $600,000 was set aside for this program, with Elkin having three teachers to qualify for bonuses payable at $25 per credential ranging from $325 to $1,625. She said 139 credentials were earned by the students of the three local teachers.

The state has allocated $10 million for the third-grade reading bonuses, Zachary reported. That funding will be divvied out in two ways. Half of the funding will be divided among the top 25 percent of third-grade teachers in the state based on the Education Value-Added Assessment System (EVAAS) student growth index score from 2015-16. The other $5 million will be given to the state’s 115 school systems to divide among the individual systems’ top 25 percent of third-grade teachers.

There is a catch though, the third-grade teachers from the bonus year of 2015-16 must still be employed as a third-grade teacher during the year the bonus is being awarded until it is paid, which is Jan. 31 of this year, she explained.

For Elkin, in 2015-16, there were five third-grade teachers, but one of those moved to second grade this year and is not eligible for the bonus, which leaves four eligible teachers. Of those four, three qualified in the top 25 percent in the state bonus and will receive $3,523 per teacher. One teacher qualified for the top 25 percent of the Elkin City Schools and will receive a $4,004 bonus.

Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.

By Wendy Byerly Wood

[email protected]

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